Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Day New Finish......

This is the new finish I talked about yesterday....after the two Sherri Jones class pieces, with beautiful stitching, but a lot of it, I wanted something that was fun, but Sara picked out the new French Tote and we picked a Jeannette Douglas design to put on it, "Take Time to Stitch" ...15th Anniversary Edition.  The design was so much fun to stitch and an easy stitch.  It took only a couple of days to complete so that felt wonderful.  Because I was putting the design on the French Tote which is somewhat rustic, I did edit the stitching and left off most of the beadwork.  I did put some beads on the piece but none on the border.  If I was framing it however, I would have used the beads.  With Easter coming upon us this weekend I decided I had to stitch Just Nan's "Lorelei Lamb", which again is a fast stitch, just a couple of nights, and today I hope to stitch it together.  Another fun stitch.  I also decided to edit this piece and didn't use the any of the sequins, instead just stitched the top in black and I outlined in white the body and black the head.  I love the colors on Lorelei and felt she didn't need all the flower sequins.  With her done you know what that means....New project....oh, I can't wait to dig into the many bags full of projects (to say nothing of all the projects on shelves in my stitching room. Such a fun way to spend time, looking through tons of stitching.  I guess I should be moving on to summer projects since I believe we are skipping over spring.  While it isn't as cold as it was in February and March, it's dipping back down...and while we didn't get the snow some of you did...we did get the torrential rain.  I'm looking forward to some warmth (when I will again be begging for cooler temps as someone reminded me last week.)  Talk to you the meantime I'm on the hunt for new projects...or perhaps pulling one I've already started but stuck in a bag somewhere.  Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What a wonderful weekend we had...

What fun we had this weekend.  Sherri Jones was in house to teach both The Mermaid's Two Tales, and the Tulip Tray designs, so there was a lot of activity as the stitchers all gathered and then concentrated to get as much done as they possibly could, and several of them are just a day's work away from completing their projects.  Kudos to everyone.  The weather cooperated, it's was sunny and somewhat warm all days, but today it's raining and cold again.... is spring ever going to get here?  Yesterday Sara drove Ginny and Sherri to the airport so they could fly home, only to get a call once she got back to the shop from Ginny who's flight had been cancelled.  Since there are no hotels near our airport, or anything else, Ginny was stuck in limbo and they were closing the airport since there were no more flights.  So Sara went over and brought her back so she's going to try again today to get home.   And Ginny heard from Sherri who's stuck in another airport due to let's just say that getting home was not as easy as getting here was for these two.  So we really appreciate all the trouble people go to in order to attend a class or to teach a class.  Thanks to all the participants and especially to Sherri.  If you have never taken a class, you need to because you become so much more proficient in finishing.  If you've never had Sherri Jones teach you....again, do your self a favor and sign up for one of her classes.  She teaches all over the country so find a class near you because you will learn so much....worth it!  The pictures you see are of  the Button Hornbook by Priscilla's Pocket.  Such a fun piece to put together.  The stitch is an over one on 36 count and everything is in the kit, including the wool for the pocket on the back.  There are two holes predrilled in the hornbook for attaching both the sampler and the button pocket on the back and the buttons included are used in the attachment so there is no gluing which I love.  So cute!   Other than the finishing of stitching on both class pieces, last week didn't produce a whole lot.  But at least I finished both class pieces for Sara.  I did finish one other piece which I loved, loved, loved stitching and I'll get that up on the site tomorrow...we had a slight glitch when we tried putting it on today and I've got to get to the office since IRS is sitting there waiting for my April 15th report and check...damn it.  The accountant called Sara yesterday and I heard her say, "Well you can tell her that yourself."  So I knew the number was high and everyone was trying to get someone else to tell me.  Crap!!! So today we're scrambling to get it together.  Honestly will my boat every dock?  Probably but the dock might just be rotten so it will have to go back to sea.  Hope your IRS day is easier than mine.  Talk to you soon.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fun Times.....Spring is here and I'm stitching like a mad woman

I was a finishing fool Thursday night, knowing I had set a goal and wanting to complete the goal.  I had a slight fender bender while leaving Walmart Thursday and was some what bummed about it when I got home and just didn't go near my stitching....until around 7:00 when I knew I would have nothing to bring in to the store if I didn't get on with it.  So I started with the canvas work egg you see first.  (Obviously I haven't put away St. Patrick's Day decorations since my Leprechaun is holding the egg.  Anyway, I have to take back everything I was thinking about wrapping a canvaswork egg  stretched over a Styrofoam form.  I said it was impossible to get it right...I was wrong.  The canvas after being sprayed with water was pliable enough to wrap around the egg.  Unfortunately, the fabric on the back didn't fair as well...but as Sara said, who's looking at the back (no other than the people who come in now to see what I'm talking about.  Anyway, the design is from DebBee's Designs "Easter Parade" which actually has charts for 4 different canvaswork eggs and as well as finishing instructions.  They also have flat back finishing directions.  But it was a fast stitch.  I was slow to begin with (I thought I could get it done at work in one day), but once I got home it flew by.  So this really is a one day project.  I need to do a couple more before my finishing improves, but I love it anyway.  Then it was on to SamSarah's "Carrot Stix."  I've always loved her stitched carrots, but these have no stitching on them at  all, except attaching buttons and are so fast and easy you can get all three done in 1 hour.  The only thing I changed in her directions was....I put the buttons on before stitching the carrot seam.  She instructs you to sew on the buttons after you've finished the construction of the carrot.  My way is so much easier.  But the hardest part for me was the stuffing of the the tip end.  But once I cut down on the amount of fiberfill I was putting in there it got better.  Anyway, these were loads of fun and easy to finish.  I then finished the 2008 Cancer piece, Buttons and Blossoms (I think that's the name) and put it together, made my own cording (I had forgotten how to do that....everyday at my age becomes a moment.)  Then I tackled Priscilla's Pocket Hornbook Button Keep will show it on the next blog since I just deleted it by mistake,  so easy to finish, thank God since it was Midnight and I was about done mentally and physically.  I also managed to put in some time on Beekeeper. I also finished The Beekeeper from Plum Street Samplers so you  know what that means... I get to pick new projects today...whoppee!!!!!  We received Shepherd's Fold know it's in my bag, and Lone Elm called today to say they are shipping the boxes today.  It's a good day people and oh, yes...the Liberty Hill boxes arrived.  So we're in "new stuff" heaven here.  Vera Means and her group are having their retreat in Ocean City this weekend and they started coming in group.  Vera brought in 2 of her pieces and her Halloween piece is gorgeous.  She paints her fabric (she paints the sky a different color than the rest of the piece....stunning)  and it makes a big difference on the finished look.  Fantastic!  Oh, before I forget if you go onto the web site today we had to put in an update and when they told me they were done I went to check it out and as usual there have been some glitches.  Our Just Arrived page usually everything we've received but now it contains only the items we've received in the last couple of days.  The other new items are in the catalog though so you can search there. 
Anyway, I'm going to end here cause I got stitching to get to.  Talk to you tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lack of progress...ugh!

Today, Sara worked like a dog ordering supplies and taking inventory while I sat and started a new project.  I set my goals yesterday for finishes this week, and I'm afraid I've gone off the grid.  Last night I was working on the Priscilla's Pocket mini hornbook, over 1 on a dark 36 ct. linen and just couldn't do another close and yet so far.  I just didn't want to stitch any more and I'd only been stitching for about 4 hours (of course at work I stitched for about 4 hours with Linda and Candy) but anyway, I knew it wasn't a case of not wanting to stitch, I just was tired of the 36 over 1.  Soooo, I leaned over the multitude of bags sitting beside the sofa and pulled out one of the old (from 2008) kits purchased from Elegant Stitch for a fundraiser for cancer.  2008 people and that isn't even one of my older kits lounging away on my shelves.  We also got our next kit from R & R,  Ladies Prim Society...oh, my Gosh....I don't have time to sleep or help Sara in the shop.  Anyway, I digress...I pulled out Buttons and Blooms (I think that was the name) and it's on a lovely pink linen and I started stitching it.  It was so different because everything I've been stitching on is 36 ct., and all projects are on dark linen and Buttons & Blooms was this light pink and it's a pin cushion so it will be fast, so I enjoyed stitching until 12:30 a.m. at which time I gave up and went to bed.  Today in the shop I started a new piece of canvaswork.  Easy peasy I said to myself I'll have this done before I leave at 4:00.  Something went terribly wrong and I don't even have anyone to blame.  I must have torn out the blue row 3 times at least and the pink I pulled out so much I changed colors (there I was blaming the pink).  As the egg is a specialty stitch piece, so it's interesting and fun...I kept losing my rhythm and was making an ungodly mess of it.  Sara came over and while I was complaining about the colors she said what she always says, "Mom you don't have to use what they did, step out of the box."  5 hours later of my bitching and complaining about colors she said, "Mom, for God's sake just stitch the colors they suggested."  So much for my going out of the box.  In reality I love stitching this....just not the same row 6 times.  I really know I can stitch this in a few hours...I just have to find the flow.  I've arrived home about a hour ago and I finished the Mini Hornbook...or so I thought as I cut it off the roller bars.  As I'm sitting there patting myself on the back I realize I didn't do the nun's stitch finishing.  But I can do that in hand so I'm going to try to finish that tonight...first finish of the week....yippee!  I set the goal and I've got to reach it, however, when I set the goal on Sunday I didn't take into consideration the two new pieces I decided to start.  I am my own worst enemy.  Anyway, as you can see I'm not stitching,since I'm blogging,  so got to go....will keep you posted.  OMG....this is Watchathon week on T.V. ... free HBO, etc., and since I'd rather buy the movies than give the cable company one more penny, I haven't seen everything.  I got hooked on Game of Thrones, Homeland and Boardwalk Empire during last years event.  Then went and bought the DVD's so I can rewatch them.  But this morning as I was planning my day, going to the grocery store, hitting Michael's and Walmart and then back home to do a little housekeeping (as little as possible)...I turned on T.V., hit on demand and OMH I spent the entire day watching Game of Thrones season 3 and stitching.  It would be a great diet, I didn't eat breakfast or lunch until I got up off the sofa to give my butt a rest from sitting and realized it was 1 p.m.  So I grabbed a fast lunch and got back to the show.  Meanwhile, I finished the Buttons and Blooms pin Cushion, the DebBee's Design canvaswork egg and now I'm moving on to the beekeeper.  Meanwhile I haven't gone grocery shopping, to Michael's or Walmart.  Tonight I'll get some solid stitching in again and then hopefully tomorrow I'll pull myself away for a little while.  In the meantime, I'm having the time of my life.  Have a great evening of stitching.

Monday, March 31, 2014

At last, we're snow free for the week.....

With no snow in the future I see spring is on the way and we're thrilled.  Our thoughts and displays have turned to Welcoming Spring.  Which, of course, brings about our thoughts on the Spring Retreat.  Sara has informed me that she and Mary have had to cut off any more registrations to the retreat as we are overloaded (at least they can't blame me) anyone wishing to come now will have to go on the waiting list.  We are thrilled to have such a wonderful response, as usual, to this retreat and know that it has a lot to do with location.  There's nothing better than sitting in the front porch rockers, stitching while watching and listening to the ocean roll in.  While I've been typing the fog has lifted a little so I now can see the waves rolling and I've been able to hear it all along.  Sounds of home for me.  Anyway, goodie bags have been ordered and we're on the search for what to put in the goodie bag...that's where I come in.  I love doing the goodie bag.  Sara also heard back from Jackie DuPlessis so we have a date and the project for her class which will be in September.  I'll get that info on the web shortly...I'm having an issue (so what's new) and I have the web designer working on it now.  Candi and Linda came by on Sunday to work on the Welsh Cottage.  Linda has almost finished her roof and I'm halfway done with the cottage back wall (my roof is done) so things are progressing.  It's slow though...over one..ugh!  It's so beautiful when it's done, but it limits the amount of hours I can work on it as I get too tired.  I have to switch to an over 2 so I can speed things  up.  I have several new projects in my tote going home.  SamSarah's carrots have been calling my name since Nashville and we just got the wools in that are called for so hopefully all will go well in putting them together and I'll have my carrot stixs done by this time next week.  I go home with more to do's than I bring back each week...there is something wrong with my system.  So much little time.  But my goal this week is to finish my Mermaid class piece (just a little to do), The BeeKeeper, from Plum Street Samplers should be done and then to the framer, Carrot Stixs, and the Priscilla's Hornbook Kit, we picked up in Nashville....should be done.  Don't hold me to any of this....but that's my goal.   And this week I'm starting my needlepoint canvaswork easter eggs....and at least one of them should be done this week.  Oh, My...I better go home and start stitching.  Have a great week ahead...I'll keep you posted on my progress.  Oh, I forgot to tell you Ladonna Snellbaker, the designer for Blank Branch Needlework was in today with a couple of  her friends , Barbara  Reifsnider and Stacy Diokno.  They were so much fun to talk with and they are considering attending one of our exciting.   This is two weeks in a row we've had a needlework celebrity exciting.  It's always great to speak with the designers, see what they are stitching, etc, as well as see what they are purchasing to use.  Sometimes I even get pointers on some fibers I can't figure out when someone buys it I just ask them how they are using it.  There is no shame in my game!  Anyway, I've got to run....have a great day and I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

New things to show...just not new....

I finally brought this home after 3 years to attach the top piece to the box.  It's been a model in the shop since it came out and I stitched these boxes.  But I cut the top piece too close and couldn't use it properly so I had to re-stitch (ugh) and it's been sitting home finished (stitching) until this week when I decided to use the snow day to finish some unfinished pieces that were already displayed.  So the Treasures Stitching Box is now completely finished.     Then you see   the Lizzie Kate 2014 Flora McSample Stocking ornaments that I finished in January, but was waiting to hand them over to Caroline to finish...they turned out too small for me to tackle...(as I did them over one).  Caroline brought them back last weekend and they are just too cute.  They are less than 3 inches and are now lined so usable.  Great for sticking money in for the grandchildren and hanging them on the tree. The 3rd picture shows SamSarah's Happy Easter from 2013, which I just slapped together after stitching it last year to have it in the shop in time for Easter.  So that came home on Monday and I finished it as it should have been done.  The rest of the week was spent on class pieces...the Tulip Tray stitching is complete and the other class is almost complete..after a start over on one piece...ugh!  Anyway, last night when I didn't have anything new to show I made the JABCO Ewe Pin Cushion....she's sooo cute.  And I put her bunny ears on as we are using her in our Easter display.  As with the other JABCO pin cushion kits, this proved to be challenging to begin with, but once I saw what they were trying to say...well it became a lot easier.  First, for me a lot of prep work just doesn't work.  I tried punching the holes through on the first pin cushion and found it to be busy work for me.  You can just look at the pattern pieces and look at the wool in you hand and then fold it the way they say...matching this letter to another letter.  I don't need to put a hole in it.  This pin cushion was the hardest yet when I started putting it together.  But, after sitting for a few minutes, placing the letters together on the two pieces of wool and thinking ahead to where it had to go I was able to see that you just made a cross of the two white pieces for the body, and while if you gathered the two ends on one piece you could fit them together easily.  But that isn't how they do it.  So you just need to edit their directions a little and it becomes a little easier.  Anyway, she's adorable.  I tried to weight it but I was using something too big and it would become a problem when the  pins were stuck in it  so I took the weight out.  But next time, I'd weight it using a different weight.  I'm trying to decide whether or not to add eyes....too cute?  I'll think some more about this.  Anyway, I'm praying that was our last snow for 2014.  Next week it's suppose to be in the 60's all week...whoppee!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Another stitch-tastic day.....

sIf I had a few more snow days God only knows how much I could get done....stitching that housework.  Yesterday I finished the Pine Mountion, "Best Thing to hold onto" and started one of the hornbooks from  Priscilla's Pocket.  Since that is over one, and it was night, well I decided to only do a few of the letters and move on to something new.  After all, new is so much fun.  I came across the Lovebird pin cushion from JABCO and since I finished the Lovebird framed piece a couple of weeks ago I decided to get the pin cushion finished so he could sit with his partner.  If you haven't seen one of these kits, they come complete with everything, including the wool roving for stuffing the pin cushion.   I just opened the kit up, and as always I looked at the directions first and that's usually about the time I fold the directions back up and put the kit back in my stash.  It's a whole lot of directions on the page, but...and this is a big but...if you take it one step at a time they are really very easy to get through.  So this time instead of putting the kit back, I proceeded and finished "lovebird" last night.  I think he really turned out ...well beautiful.  I did make a minor change.  JABCO instructs to close the beak and stuff it.  But I like his mouth open (it won't surprise you to hear this, but I was actually thinking of finding a fake worm to hang out of it....but I decided to edit myself).  I also finished a chore...and I do mean a chore for me....doing duplicate stitch on a knitted throw for a woman who came in to get instructions for doing the duplicate stitch.  Sara asked if I could help her since I knew how to do it and Sara hasn't had to do any yet.  So I came over to Salty Yarns quite willingly.  But the minute I started speaking with the woman I knew I had a problem.  She asked if I would just do it for her, and I said, "No, I'm sorry but I don't have the time for that but I'll show you how to do it."  Please keep in mind that the woman had never been in our shop before, had been in the shops in the area where she purchased her supplies, but nothing from us.  Anyway, I began showing her how to do the stitch and she just couldn't do it  well enough.  She would do something that to her looked like the duplicate stitch, but mercy, it was driving me crazy.  Then she put gum in her mouth and I thought I'd lose my what little mind I have left.  It was getting close to 4:00,  which as you know is our closing time and I just couldn't see her ever getting this done correctly.  Now, in the 1 1/2 hours she was in the shop she was talking, also to her credit, she was constantly saying "I'm going to pay you" no matter how many times I said, I wouldn't accept payment for showing her how to do something.  She said, "I will certainly pay you since I've paid everyone else."  She paid someone $70.00 to chart the letters she wanted and to weave the yarn ends into the lap robe, which isn't that huge, so I just didn't feel it was proper to take any money.  The main problem was they charted a shadow alphabet for counted cross stitch, which can't be done in duplicate stitch.  I just felt she had been taken advantage of so I ended up bringing the darn thing home and redoing the lettering (I had tried to use just the block lettering on her chart in the shop and got 3 done, but wasn't happy with them), so I googled a duplicate stitch alphabet, pulled out what had been done and redid the whole thing.  So that was another finish for the day, even though it wasn't for me.  I think next time I should take a sample swatch and show people how to duplicate stitch on that, so that I force them to learn.  Fortunately for Sara, her knitting pupil is doing beautifully and after Sara taught her to knit and purl she's now knitting a sweater.  Sara will now be the one who also shows how to do the duplicate stitch...I can promise you one thing...she will not end up taking it home to finish it for anyone.  It's funny that this happened because while on the way to Nashville we stopped in our usual shops....a couple of knitting in Franklin, Tennessee and they asked if we would discuss policies of the shop with them.  One of their questions was, "what do you say when someone comes in and asks for help but didn't purchase anything from the store?" ( I guess we are not alone.)  I can't help but feel we must help those who can't do it...but I also want to know if  that person sees that it's not right to ask help from a store where they have purchased nothing at all, at any time.  If this woman had been a customer of ours it wouldn't seem so outrageous to me, but to never have been a customer at all....well, how does she expect independent stores to stay open just providing free help?  Enough said on this subject.  To the right you see another finish.  Yes she did offer to pay, but I'm not comfortable charging for help.  Oh, well...the traumas of a shop owner.  On to other finishes.  I'm really getting the hang of the JABCO kits.  This is a pinkeep from JABCO.  I thought it was so cute.  We have a couple of diehard sheep collectors.  Debbie and Cynthia are always on the lookout for sheepish designs.  Anyway, I do have a tip on the JABCO kits.  I noticed on  both the Lovebird pin cushion as well as this pinkeep, they always put the pieces together and then instruct you to do the attaching of buttons, stitching of design whatever after you've put pieces together.  That makes it almost impossible to hide knots in thread, etc. (yes I said knots).  But if you attach the buttons or whatever first, it makes things a lot easier.  For instance on the pinkeep they have you attach the body of the sheep to the green wool and then sew on the head and the bell.  But if you assemble the sheeps body, head and bell and then attach to the green, it works a lot easier.  Another thing, don't get intimidated by all the wordage (new word?) you see when you first take out the directions.  It's so much easier to ignore that and just start at step one.  I had taken out the directions on this piece a couple of times and then just put it back in a bag because it was too much.  But in reality, last night it only took a couple of hours from start to finish.  And it's so cute.  I showed you the back because it's one of the large round decorative buttons from JABCO...there is so little stitching on this piece ....just attaching the sheep body to the green.  The ribbon is holding the front to the back and the wool inbetween.  Fast and easy folks.