Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thanks for a great retreat!

I started this blog last Friday so excuse the tardiness in posting. Beautiful day at the beach...thank God.  The town's full with Springfest in full go mode and of course the hotel is full since we have our Spring Retreat stitchers here and a few rooms were rented to Springfest attendees, so it's been go time here all week.  Stitchers started arriving on Wednesday, just to have a few days before the crowd arrived, and a few more trickled in on Thursday and then Friday everyone was on board.  It was a rainy blowy day for the most part, but spirits here weren't dampened because everyone was here to relax and stitch so they didn't care what it was doing.  Using the secret door to the shop they didn't even have to go outside.  Trudy Edwards even came over in her P.J bottoms and cut fabric for a while for me and no one cared, hell I'm not sure anyone noticed.  I didn't...Shirley threw her under the bus and told on her,  but I don't care if you come in nude as long as you are coming in to cut fabric for me.  Anyway, met several newbies and one brought in some of her treasures....OMG, she brought along a couple of Sherri Jones projects, the Button Book for one...I love that piece and especially love to see it finished and get a glance at the buttons each person finds to put in it.  It is a gorgeous project and I'm thrilled that one day Sara will complete hers and I will be able to sit and stare at hers.  Last post I had talked about finishing the Mani di Donna little basket or tote or however you want to refer to it.  It went swimmingly to begin with...I've got the sides down easily using the quilters template material, unfortunately the middle divider proved to be my nemesis..damn it...I swear I'm going to get this right sooner or later.  I'm almost there.  I originally had it the correct size but the last hole on the handle had no divider to connect to so I cut the divider a little longer and then it pushed the sides out...crap!!!  I might just say mine is an oval tote and then it would be correct, except I had to hide a mistake I made on the inside and to do that I had to put the top piece in the back.  So you really can't see it that well, although you get the drift, but anyway, I'm thrilled and next one I've got ideas for easier finishing and I know I can do it with no problem (I think I've said those words before, but perfection will come if I just don't give up.)  Anyway, I still love this and still think it's a beautiful Christmas gift for someone...although I wouldn't give this one since it's not perfected so it will stay in the shop, with it's 2 sisters...I'm building a family of Mani di Donna small totes.  So cute!!  So this week I worked on the beach series  from Hands on Design, which I had hoped to have several finished, but I got distracted so I only have 3....oh well, there's always next week.

I've got a plan in my head regarding how I'm finishing them, but I'm starting to lose confidence in it so I'm not willing to tell you what I'm thinking of doing with it.  I'll leave you wondering.   Well, a week has passed, since I started this blog, and the weather had taken a definite wrong turn.  It's overcast and a bit rainy today, but Sara and I are plugging along, getting stocked priced, etc.  Of course, if I'm blogging I don't have to work so you can see I'm blogging.  The retreat was wonderful, fun, busy, a lot of laughing, and a lot of people, but no drama.  The Fun Girls were here (well Diane missed it but the rest were here) and had their annual contest.  They pick an item which they use as the center in a stitching contest.  Last year they found a wire bench and each person designed something around it.  Everyone did cushions but the variety was amazing and what they stitched was fabulous.  It's really interesting to see the different pieces but I hate judging these things.  In the fall they did cupcakes using the silicone holders.  Again, really cute cupcakes were stitched.  This years spring contest used small plastic flower pots.  Our Judy, who is one of the Fun Girls, I'm excusing from this years contest because of so many distractions that she's had this spring, but the other three ladies who brought in their pieces did such a fabulous job.  First to show up was the multi-petal Black Eyed Susan.  When they put that down (Diane sent it in with one of the other ladies) I said, oh, my this is surely going to be the winner.  She stitched each petal and attached them separately...really impressive.  Then Tracy's was put on the table (this are judged without knowing who did which one)..and Tracy won the last 2 contests, and while I liked her and the amount of work was incredible...stump work...loved it, but the black eyed Susan was still my pick at that point and then Evelyn's flower pot was put down and she did something the other two stitchers didn't do...she added Spanish moss to the pot, multiple green leaves and this little pot of violets looked almost real.  The little yellow centers you see are actually the yellow balls on the top of a pin, which is  used to hold the flower in the pot.  After watching this Sherri Kohlerman has asked if she can compete in the next one.  I see this as a growing competition among many stitchers, and while it's fascinating to see what they come up with, judging these competitions is stressful for me.

This week I detoured yet again from stitching on  "The Beach Series" and worked on the Lizzie Kate "Summer Smalls."  I decided I wanted to do a wooden tote again for a summer display, and thought these designs would be perfect.  But at the same time my "Animal Cracker Series- Theodore" was asking, what about me, so I had to pull him out and start working on him again.  His head is almost done and he keeps looking at me with those big eyes, so I'm pretty sure I'll be putting in a lot of work on him this weekend and hopefully get him done.  Anyway, Thanks to all who were here for our events so far this spring.  It's been fun, exciting and exhausting all at the same time.  We're now resting up for Betsy Morgan weekend and the summer.  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea.....finished!!!

Another wonderful event last weekend with Sherri Jones.  Many old friends were here and a couple of new friends and it was a drama free weekend....whew!  The weather didn't cooperate exactly, but stitchers thankfully don't really care about that...they are stitching anyway and don't mind sitting inside.  Since I worked the shop I didn't get a lot of stitching done, but Monday I was on it.  I finished stitching the gauze necklace and needlebook for "By the Sea" from Erica Michaels.  It was a joy to stitch and I can't believe I'm saying this, but a joy to finish.  The more I finish the more confident I become...although my Mani di Donna has proven once again I should not follow my own thinking when constructing her little totes...but that's another story.   Here is the By The Sea complete.  Since I talked about the strawberry in an earlier post I'll just discuss the gauze pendant and the needlebook.  Gauze 40 ct. pendant was an easy stitch (the gauze is so open it's easy to see.  My problem with this was,  I couldn't find the Bezel charm pieces at Hobby Lobby or Michaels.  Don't know if they are discontinuing this particular one or what, however, at Hobby Lobby they had the smallest starfish ever in a package so I purchased that knowing I had small shells in our own shell shop.  I looked at the beads suggested and I just couldn't get past thinking I could use the sand outside my door....however, in the end I didn't use either as I was thrilled with just the shell and the starfish.  But this is a matter of personal choice.  The needlebook was a smooth stitch, but as usual I had an issue with blank space.  On the front I therefore added a few flying birds just to have something in the space.  I then used them again on the inside just to have consistency with the front.

I have to tell you it's absolutely not needed because it folds beautifully, but I keep thinking I need to put a closure on it.  But of course I haven't yet, just talking about it.  It's in the shop on display so by the time I take it back I'll forget I ever thought about this.  But it would  be easy enough to do, and I  can always add it later.  If you have this in your's a fun easy stitch so get to stitching.  Once that was finished I thought I'd tackle the Christmas Mani di Donna piece I stitched last December and never assembled.  In the rush to get my house straightened up for the holidays I was stuffing projects in bags and throwing them in closets.  So it's been a real hunt trying to find some of it.  Anyway, I found this piece and decided to tackle it.  My supplies and tools were already out so it seemed the perfect time.  Things were going so perfect I should have know disaster was around the corner.  But I was on a finishing high and nothing could deter me.  I had ordered the plastic sheets that quilters used to make templates to use in place of cardstock for the sides and it worked like a charm.  I used double sided tape (of which I've got a ton since I keep ordering it in every size-a must have to assembling things at times, plus I use it now to make the tags)..anyway I pressed my warm and natural onto the tape then laced the fabric over that.  I tried several different fabrics but remembered I had a small dark green holly print originally so finally found it and when I opened it guess what fell out.  OMG my 1/2 stitched Erica Michaels silk Honey Berry ornament.  I really did a happy dance over this one since I have the threads and chart but nothing else in a tote bag beside my stitching sofa.  Can't wait to get back to it.  Anyway,  I was able to lace my fabric onto the wall piece perfectly.  Yes, I was patting myself on the back for some time.  Then I got out my circle cutter and cut a 4" circle out of matting for the bottom.  Perfect round and gathered the fabric over it and that's when things took a turn.  I decided to put the guide pieces back over the circular cutter blades so I wouldn't accidently cut anything I wasn't suppose to,  but missed and ended up just gliding my fingers down the blade.  On the plus side the blade was sharp, on the minus side I have two really deep cuts on my forefinger and my thumb.  Never known for letting adversity get me down I kept going.  Got bandaids and marched on, although I considered stopping at that point.  But I knew I couldn't.    I remembered to put a strip on the back seam to keep the circle the lining done and rick rack on and when I went to attach the handle it doesn't quite fit on the divider.  I'm afraid to cut a bigger divider because I think it will make the sides go wonky.  To make a long story short...I left the whole mess on the table and came to work.  I'll finish it tonight so I'll show you the end result tomorrow.  But now I get to pick out new projects and my tote is already overflowing with possibilities.  My favorite thing...starting a new project.  And I pulled a couple of fabrics and a  couple of new charts for my stash.  Well Delaware Sampler Guild is starting to roll in for the times ahead.   While these weekends may be exhausting a gathering of stitchers is the best gathering of all!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Madam Hare has arrived..;...

Yes, she is dressed in her best dress and has arrived in time for the parade.  She is stitched on 20 ct. Weeks linen with Weeks Dye Works Teal Frost, Cocoa, Whiskey, Putty, Lancaster Red, and Moss.  I did make her nose with a soft rose (Red Pear, I think) and black DMC for the shoes and Weeks Whitewash for the Pantaoons.  An easy stitch and semi-easy finish.  I didn't think I had the right fabric for backing so I purchased something at Hobby Lobby, but when I got home it was a bit too bright in my opinion and so I looked in my stash and at the bottom of the bin was a black striped teal that matched exactly.  Why didn't I look there first...never assume you don't have something....but on the plus side I've added to my stash.  Today isn't quite as bright as it was yesterday, in fact it's cloudy and a bit off...not raining, but not sunny and bright either.  But there are plenty of people in town for Easter so we should be busy today...fingers crossed.  On the other hand, I will probably be able to stitch while win!  I worked on "By the Sea" last night and didn't realize initially that the lettering was over that was an eye opener since I thought I'd zip through the lettering...but I got the first line of lettering in and will try to do at least 2 or 3 lines a day and in between I'll start Theodore, one of the Animal Cracker series.  I didn't need much of an excuse to start Theodore but glad I can blame over one stitching anyway.  Well, I'm signing off to get some stitching done.  Have a great day and a wonderful Easter celebration (if you celebrate Easter and if you don't have a great day tomorrow.)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Easter Weekend.....

This weekend we start our spring hours....every day we'll be open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., unless unforeseen weather crops up, which rarely happens in the spring so we'll be here with a smile on our face and ready to help you in your needlework journey.  I had a good week and a bad week.  The cough is still here so I'm back on cough medicine and Sara's left over meds.  I was really dragging on Tuesday at Stitch 'n Bitch, but I felt much better yesterday so perhaps this go around I'll get rid of the cough.  I did not let the cough deter me from my stitching though.  As you may remember my goal was to finish the front of the needlebook from "By The Sea" ...Erica Michaels new design,  and while I got the front of it done and shown below, I did not get the inside cover done because a Brenda Gervais kept calling my name and it had to be done before Easter so I had to stop working on "By the Sea" and work on "Tulip Festival" by Brenda Gervais.  If you know the pattern, Madam Hare is surrounded by huge tulips, and while I loved the whole look, I wanted just Madam Hare for Easter.  So I started stitching big time on Wednesday night after spending the day in Salisbury at one of my favorite spots, Hobby Lobby.  Then Thursday I wouldn't move off the sofa until I completed Madam Hare and I'm thrilled to say the stitching is done and now hopefully tonight I'll finish it into a stand up and have it in the shop tomorrow.   Fingers crossed!  The good news is I do have a finish.....

 Peeps Parade is now finished and has been added to our Easter display. I pray tomorrow Madam Peep will be joining the Peep Parade.  I stitched Peeps on 20 Kudzu linen from Weeks Dye Works.  I stitched using Weeks Dye Works and DMC pearl cottons.  So all in all a productive week for me.  Now on to the inside cover of By the Sea. and one of the Animal Crackers from Stacy Nash has fallen into my tote so that means it's come up on the rotation, but I'm going to try to concentrate on getting "By the Sea" completed.  And of course I still have one more piece after the needlebook in that collection.  Just never enough time to get all these projects completed....but I'll sure try.

I did find the Mani di Donna Christmas mini tote that should have been finished for Christmas but I put it away along with Erica Michaels Bee Petite Strawberry, and while I did locate the Mani di Donna, Erica Michaels piece is still MIA.  But since the Mani di Donna is finished hopefully I'll get it put together by next weekend.   Mercy, so much finishing needs to be done at my house...not my strong suit,  but with each project I get a little better.  I even put a zipper in the back of  "Peeps Parade."  I haven't put a zipper in anything since Home Ec in High they even have that anymore?  My home ec teacher would be proud that I even attempted, I won't tell her that I used the internet to refresh my memory.  The zipper makes a much nicer finish to pillows, and is really easy to put in so I'm glad I'm stepping out of the box.  Anway, have a wonderful holiday weekend.  Stay safe and keep your needle moving stitchers.  We have too many projects in bags to stop now.

Friday, March 31, 2017

What a busy week I've had.  But first we had our first event last weekend, Catherine Theron was here to teach two projects and the stitchers were enthusiastic and did a wonderful job with each class. Big thanks to Catherine and the stitchers for making the weekend so successful.    Sara was sick as a dog but managed to pull off her usual fabulous assortment of foods for the reception and then Saturday the dessert night.  We had stitchers staying at the Howard Johnson on 12th street since the hotel isn't open yet, and they had a wonderful stitching room so she held Saturday's reception there.  Good time was had by all.   Sara dragged herself to the doctors on Monday to find out she has bronchitis.  So she's got the proper meds and while she is still hacking, she is showing improvement.  My condition is much better but if I even so much as walk to the bathroom I'm hacking for a few minutes but as long as I'm sitting I'm fine. (could this just be my excuse to sit?  I think it might be)  Anyway, since I refused to leave the house Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I put the time to good use and finished some projects.  We brought home Erica Michaels "By the Sea" from Nashville and I just couldn't wait to start it.  So I started last Thursday a week ago and finished on Tuesday.  I decided to get it put together immediately and I'm thrilled to say it was relatively easy.  I was so concerned about the point I didn't leave enough fabric on the strawberry at the top so my sandcastle doesn't show as much as it should.  But I am proud of the finish anyway as it's only my second berry and the first, while hanging in the shop, has a few issues with the back.  But I learned from that one and made sure that with this one I paid attention to matching the back.  By the time I do a third berry I should have all the kinks worked out.  Anyway, here is my "By the Sea" Berry Pin Cushion.  The only issue I must warn you about is in the first run the chart showing the berry shows the same symbol for the pumpkin patch and DMC 950.  Both colors are needed for the hand as 950 is the color of the flesh and the pumpkin color is the color of the Starfish.  You can see the correct colors on one of the included pictures.

 Before I left for Nashville I stitched "Selfie Sampler" by Lizzie Kate.  I never take a selfie but I did like what it says, "Dear Self, today I will shine."  It's a mantra I should say everyday, unfortunately some days I just can't's just too hard.  It was a fast finish and putting it together was easy and I used Peony Chenille to finish around the edge.  The fabric is included with the chart but you have to use your own floss.

Last weekend we received "Samplar Hare" by La-D-Da and I just knew I had to stitch it.  Frankly I wanted to stitch both the front and the back, but of course then I got in a hurry and just did the front.  And easy stitch...actually can be done in one day and the finish, well I did have a few problems, but I'm sure they were of my own making so I won't even discuss them.  But I love him and he stands on his own so that much I did right.

And the last finish for the week is "Home" by Brenda Gervais, With Thy Needle and Thread.  This I stitched on 20 ct. linen over 2 so the pillow is actually about 15" x 6".  Easy stitch, in fact I stitched this on the trip home from Nashville.  Over 2 on large count just flys by.  Anyway, I made it into a pillow as I love the large pillows which really show up on a sofa or chair.  I did change colors as I wanted to use Perle Cotton.  I used Weeks Cocoa for the lettering, moss for the vine and leaves, Lancaster for the blooms, door & heart, pelican gray on the house  and Black on the Roof of the house.  Fun stitch  Because this actually says, " where our story begins" I really feel this would make a great gift for a new couple.  You could add their names and wedding date on the bottom under "where our story begins."  Different type of wedding remembrance.

Great week, fun stitching and now I move on.  This week I'm working on another Brenda Gervais on 20 ct. linen over 2 called "Easter Peep Parade"...should be fun and of course I'm moving on to the needlebook in "By the Sea"...can't wait.  I've also got my eye on Stacy Nash's Animal Cracker darn cute I know I'm going to stitch them. many stitches and too little time.  Have a great, safe weekend and try to stitch a little .... it's so relaxing most of the time!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Being sick is a bitch!

I've been out of commission for over 10 days, in fact, I was sick on my return from Nashville, which is why you've heard nothing and seen nothing from me.  Being in a confined space on the ride to and from Nashville with sick Sara, ended with me getting the worst she had to give.  I hit to sofa upon our return and didn't arise fully until yesterday and that was reluctantly.  We arrived home from the market on Tuesday, March 7th.  I was without any medication as it was in the suitcase behind all the Nashville cash and carry.  So for 3 days I just lay there feeling sorry for myself, but too sick to care.  Friday I arose from the ashes to deliver the van to the store for the guys to unload.  I tried to work but the hacking, nose blowing etc., bothered Sara so much she sent me home.  Before I got to work I asked Sara to bring me her cold medicine as I didn't have the strength to get my suitcase out of the car.  So I began my medication at that point.  My other daily meds however, I just let go and couldn't be worried about as I was barely hanging on.  I really should have gone to my doctor, but wouldn't give him the satisfaction of bitching at me over my never getting the flu shot so I wouldn't go, even though what I had was a nasty cold and not the flu I knew he would pile on the crap anyway.    Sara left for vacation on March 12th and I told her to leave a note on the door saying the shop was closed on the 13th due to my illness.  I felt guilty Monday morning because I felt a little better but by noon I was down again and feeling I may never recover.  Meanwhile, all this time on the sofa should have meant a great deal of stitching was taking place, but I never put needle to linen until Thursday and only then because I couldn't take not stitching any longer.  I stayed down all week, finally got my meds from the suitcase Thursday so while I was off all cold medicine I started my other meds again.  Friday I showed up for work with Pat and while I'm still hacking and bringing up all kinds of nasty, I'm back to being productive somewhat again.  I actually was able to sleep a few hours in a row on Friday for the first time since Nashville.   Before that it was an hour down, coughing, hacking and dry heaving for an hour and then a nap for a few minutes and the cycle just repeated itself.  I was never so tired in my life.  But last night I really think I sleep for about 4 hours straight.  I'm no longer sore, and while I'm still hacking more than I want, it's not as long or as violent so I'm back!  Today started with me picking more projects.  Sara, bless her heart also had a bag with things I had to have from Nashville so that was exciting.    I started Blackberry Lane's "All Dressed Up for Winter" Thursday night and since  it's over 2 it's a fun stitch, although she does change floss colors a lot with the scarf,  but he is too darn cute for words, and I love him already.  But of course I'm itching to start more of the new stuff.  Erica Michael's "By the Sea" is a must for me.  Today I cut the fabric, I'll pull threads to night and hopefully it will become my shop project tomorrow.  Ohh, the excitement mounts.

At the show we saw Blackberry Lane's new "Jingle."  She shows it on the packaging as an ornament over 1, but at the show she had it done over 2 as well and in a Lone Elm Round box....stunning does not say enough.  I like it both ways but I'm planning on over 2 and Sara wants it in a specific tray we sell that have a round opening in it.  So who knows what I'll finish it in, but I know it's going to be spectacular.  

Have a great night....hope you will join me in stitching.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Saturday Night and we're exhausted..............

I meant to give you updates, but we're too exhausted to move....almost.  Well, we were too tired to go get know I'm exhausted if I was too tired to get food!  But we had a very productive day today.  Actually we started last night when some of the designers opened for 3 hours.  It gave us a great head start.  Unfortunately this morning Sara was in line for With Thy Needle and Thread's special limited edition piece for approx. 3 hours.  The show doesn't open until 9:00 but Sara got in the line that started forming at 7:30 a.m.   Since we didn't have to both stand there,  I decided to be productive and go off on my own...hated it.  I just like hauling the stuff once Sara buys it and to have to buy it and haul it was also too much for me.  But I soldiered on and  I picked a couple of rooms on the same floor.   Because of my love of her gauze petite's,  I stopped by Erica Michael's...oh I love, love, love her strawberries, (some of her previous strawberries shown here).  Such fun pieces to stitch and don't worry about the count of the gauze pieces, because here you can see the small gauze strawberries and the larger ones which are stitched on linen and you can pick your favorite count.  Either way you stitch them, you are going to love them!  

Her newest berry is Eden Berry so it's all about the Garden of Eden and is really cute, whether done on linen($9.00) or gauze ($16.00)

We are also bringing home the Parts 1-3 of  The 12 Berries of Christmas...Days 1-9.  There are 3 days in each pack ($15.00/pack)  These have been out for a few months but we kept running out of one part before we had the next part and we couldn't get our act together so thrilled we will have the first 9 days at one time.  Linda modeled hers on 35 ct. Cocoa, but since linen isn't included in the chart pack, you can choose your favorite fabric.  Along with the newest strawberries we are in love with Linda's "By the Sea" ($20.00)  We were even able to get a few of the scalloped soap boxes pictured, which are used to store and display the piece.  So cute and perfect for us since we are right on the beach, and our view is of the Atlantic Ocean.  There are three parts to this project,  the mermaid pendant stitched on 40ct. gauze (included with chart), with the rest of the project needlebook and strawberry" stitched on 32 ct. raw linen.  Wonderful project!

Getting back to Sara's 3 hr in line mission, this is the piece she stood in line for....Brenda Gervais', "Ode to the Ort Basket" ($22.00) which includes handwoven basket w/lid, cross stitch chart & finishing directions.  You supply the fibers and linen.   So I'm thrilled to tell you we were able to get 12,  thanks to Sara's due diligence.  Well worth the wait, especially since 4 stitchers had already put in a request for it, but just standing in a line for 3 hours is exhausting, especially when Sara is not feeling well, and alerted me that she had to go use the bathroom so I went to hold her place in line, before going on my own again.  But we love and appreciate our customers so much Sara is willing to go the extra mile.   While coming to this show is fun, it's a lot of hard work and exhausting but I can't imagine skipping this. (although the 3 hrs in line bit did make me wonder if I'm too old to even come)  I can't be that much help since I spent the better part of the day hiding in R & R's room because they had empty seats for me to use.  In my defense I only did that after Sara was free again and would only do it when I was on their floor...once we moved off their floor I was back to working again.  Fortunately each designer keeps food in their room for us, candy mostly,  so I kept treating myself as we went through.  Anything to help me get to the finish line.  I might have to result to alcohol to keep Sara motivated.  Although when we went to lunch she didn't eat lunch and wouldn't order a drink.  She really isn't well, although she does feel like she's getting better, but with the amount of sneezing wheezing and nose blowing it doesn't sound it.  

Well, these are just a couple of the projects coming home with us....I'll list more tomorrow...but I have to get some sleep so we can do this all over again tomorrow....only there will be no standing in line tomorrow....Thank God!  
Have a great night....