Monday, April 11, 2016

Sherri jones will be here soon..excitement mounts!!!!

Pre-stitch pressed and ready to go.  I had handed this off to Sara on Friday to finish the butterflies since I was experiencing difficulty (or so I thought) getting it right.  I had partially stitched the bottom piece on the left and had not stitched any of the butterflies on that piece, thinking she would take pity and do it while she was finishing the other butterflies.  So she brings it down, happily announcing she had finished the butterflies, but then hands it to me and says, "You haven't finished one piece."  UGH!  I was back in pre-stitch hell.  But I just went home Sunday night, sat in my stitchy chair and got down to business and was finished in an hour.  And I finished the butterflies on that piece because I always knew how to do it, I just wasn't secure in the knowledge.  But now that it's finished, the "Garden Long Pocket" is finished and I've got it blocking now so it will be ready to go by Friday....I can finish the rest of the projects that are sitting on my dining room table waiting for me to get to them.  Nothing more exciting then finishing projects and getting them into the shop on display.  A real sense of accomplishment.  Especially now....winter is over for us with our first class starting Friday and stitchers arriving Wednesday.  Then it's the Delaware Guild retreat, the May retreat and then it's summer.  Yes we are definitely feeling the tension as we all get our particular jobs finished in time.  Mary's working everyday getting the guys fixing and helping move furniture, etc., housekeepers have been working on the rooms and apartments for over a month already, and Sara's busy still getting merchandise out and getting orders placed.  Whew!  All I have to do is get the peanut butter cookies done and the models (and really no one knows what models I'm doing so if I don't get them done it's no big deal.)  I certainly won't have the pieces that were suppose to go to the framers here because they are still sitting on the table at home.    One was for St. Patrick's Day so at this point....what's the point?  The ladies return for another summer this week.  Judy and Pat will both be here this week, Sara will be taking the class so I'll be in the shop (God help us) and the Tangles will also be in town.  So the shop should be very busy this weekend.  That's always exhausting, but really exciting to see what everyone is working on, getting to speak with Sherri Jones....I better start catching up on sleep so I'm ready.  But it's so hard to sleep with my Roku....darn that Debbie Liming.  She told me she had one so of course I had to get one.  Now, I'm addicted and can barely go to sleep for watching my British shows and Netflix...OMG, commercial free T.V. is the best.  I didn't know how addictive it was until I went back to watch a show on regular T.V. and at the first commercial break I counted 13 commercials before I said, the hell with this and went back to Acorn T.V.  I'm seriously thinking of canceling my cable.  Each week since I became a Roku devotee I've watched less and less of regular T.V. although I could watch it on NBC apps on my T.V., I think there are commercials there was well, and while I miss a couple of my shows on regular T.V., so many commercials every break just wears my patience thin.  It's as if  they give you 10 minutes of a show and 10 minutes of commercials.  Can't deal with that.  I'm a bit concerned about the weather for the weekend now.  I always think it's going to be warm when we open and boy, after last weekend I really don't know what it's going to be like.  Today the sun is shining and supposedly the temperature is in the low 50's but feels like it's in the 40's with the ocean breeze...breeze well more like a nor'easter wind.    We have portable heaters at the ready just in case but I've got my fingers, toes and eyes crossed hoping for the warmer temps.  For those coming...we can't wait.  We'll see Ginny, Beverly and Bernadette on Wednesday, Sherri, Debbie and Stasi on Thursday and God knows who else before the bulk of the stitchers arrive.  Nothing better than a group of stitchers on site. 

Two fast projects down.

Another fast project "Alphabet Art" from Just Another Button Company and when you are done the stitching, you just slide it into the 4 sided box made for this series. OMG.  No finishing since the perforated paper just slides right in the box. And all you are stitching is the floral display on the initial and the black border. Of course as I'm stitching it I'm thinking of the possibilities with the box. It's 4 sided which means you could do the 4 seasons, insert each season into the space on a side and just turn the box to the season you are in. The box is open at the top so you could fill it with a vase of flowers, or anything you like. Each letter comes with the chart and buttons.  You supply the fibers. 
Little House Needleworks "Land of the Free" framed and on display. Yippee!!!! Fun little stitch, just took a few days and love, love the frame. The stars on the frame are perfect for patriotic pieces. The over dyed fibers come with the chart, but you supply your own linen or aida. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

I'm out of Pre-Stitch hell.............YEAH!

I'm finally out of pre-stitch hell and am blocking the piece you see here, but that's no big deal (at least I'm saying that today), or at this moment I don't think I'll have any trouble with the blocking.  Below the picture of the pre-stitch  is Red White & Blue by Lizzie Kate.  A fun little stitch and I'm all about patriotic so that was a win win for me to stitch.  I did change a couple of things....I turned the pillow sideways (the kit shows the blue wool at the bottom not to the side).  I also left off the twine roping that was suppose to go on the spot where the linen meets the wool, however, you cut your wool with pinking sheers so I felt it just didn't need the twine there.  But that's a matter of personal preference and you might prefer it.  I also left off the ribbon and button because that too just didn't seem necessary. I meant to add a bead to the door for a knob, but forgot it in my pre-stitch haze so it sits unadorned and will never open.  It was nice to have a Lizzie Kate stitch that's so much fun after the over one pre-stitch which I so struggled with this time.  I've got several more things stitched and just need to buckle down to finish them...ugh!  But I won't get better at it unless I force myself to do some of it so I shall soldier on....eventually.  Today is bright and shiny and cool, but we are in the shop as we will be everyday until Thanksgiving....that's right we are back to opening 7 days a week.  Right now that's 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it will not be until the middle of June when we go from 10 to 10p.m. UGH!  I love the shop, but 7 days a gets tough, although I don't have to work it by myself 7 week I'm only on 5 days and then the Tangles group along with Sheri Jones will be here so that is truly exciting for us.  Sheri's classes are so wonderful with full instructions so you never go away wondering what in the hell do I do now.  And her designs are to die for.  If you have never taken one of her classes, please put it on your "must do" list.  You gain so much knowledge with her and you will learn how to do your own finishing.  The more finishing you do the better you will get.  Many of you go to retreats, another good learning experience.  If you have never tried a retreat, please do.  You will meet so many wonderful stitchers and if you go alone, you won't be alone long.  Stitchers welcome everyone into their groups,  so once you arrive at a retreat you just blend right in.  Stitchers are always willing to share tips and suggestions so you get a lot of information while you are there.  And if there are classes, it really is a win win because then you have the benefit of designers giving you information as well as kits from them.  In any event, if you are in our area, please stop by to say hi.  Talk to you again soon.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!!!!

Finally finished, border and all...yea!!!!!  I just had to take a day off from the pre-stitch as it is a test to my endurance at this point.  As I said before, the colors on Autumn Log are not colors I normally work with, but I will say I loved most of the stitch.  I come from a crewel background and I do miss, on occasion, the lack of dimension I got working with crewel fibers, etc.   I had used many of the stitches before, although I swear they've changed some of the names, so it was like going home again.  I'm not used to working on stretcher bars so that was a little awkward for me, but all things considered, I'm getting ready for my next canvas work piece, only this time I'm picking the project.  Sara just got in a book with so many different stitches which shows them made into blocks and forming the American flag.  Of course done in reds whites and blues, doesn't that sound perfect?  I feel like we all have to join together this year to stop the embarrassment of the pre election smack downs, so I will be doing patriotic pieces to show I still believe in us even when grown men are acting worse than kindergarten bullies in a school yard and then wanting to become president.  Really, I'm an independent because I refuse to vote for a party, I vote for the person who has the same vision, morals and ethics as I have.  That is certainly missing from this build up to elections and certainly shows us the true ethics and morals of the people running.  I know I don't want a bully in White House calling other heads of states names, but I shall not go there today.  This election tends to depress me.  So let's move on.  As for my prestitch, well let's just say I could have done better.  From the beginning I started incorrectly and stitched going down the length of the linen instead of the width....Wrong #1...then there are 2 pieces to stitch which come together in the back and I stitched the right side on the left ....Wrong #2...which means now I have to stitch the left side on the right ...Wrong #3 (Sara said it was alright she doesn't care so I left it.)  That meant that the dates and initials that are worked into those 2 sections now have to be moved and new spots found...oh, my it might have been easier to just start over.  I have to say though, I love this piece, wrong or not, it is simply beautiful.  I was doing well with the specialty stitches until....Peruvian loop has thrown me for a loop.  I finally said, "I'm handing this off to Sara"...I mean how many times can you rip something out before you admit defeat?  And of course, I'm looking at bags full of Nashville stitching that I can't wait to get into.    So for the weekend it's in Sara's hands and after she gets that part done I'll do the accessory pieces and then I'm done all pre-stitch, until we get Betsy Morgan's. on to Nashville stitching.  And finally, I pray you all have the Best Day Ever, as we celebrate Easter.  Happy Easter Everyone!!!!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Finally, I'm back from the Nashville Market!

First report back from Nashville Market....wonderful time, but exhausted even a week later. I picked Sara up last Tuesday around 9:00 a.m. for our annual trek to Nashville Market, and we had beautiful weather and I had plenty of things to do on route.   I had planned well, a week out made a list of what I needed to bring, etc., pulled luggage out so I could start putting things in, oh, yes I was going to be ready, packed, and luggage in the car, early.  I even brought the list in to show Sara how organized I was this year.  I did laundry 2 days early so I wouldn't be up all night on Monday.  Well, things fell apart quickly.  I felt sick on Wednesday so started my doses of Nyquil, but this time they weren't working as before.  But I kept it up and just knew I would get over it before we left.  I left work on Monday without having completed a few things, but I had my list and I was going right home to get stuff done and get packed so I would be ready in the morning.  I was still dreaming that I'd have the bags packed and I could get some sleep.  Well, I get home and couldn't find the damn list I had spent a week to compile (I found it while in Nashville...not really much help there), but I just started methodically loading the suitcase.  I decided to go with all black pants and tops and just add colorful shirts, etc., and when I pulled out the 2 pairs of summer slacks (I knew it was going to be hot inside the hotel so I was prepared), I found that they had white streaks over them and so at 1:40 a.m. I was back doing laundry (best laid plans sometimes go awry).  As I was cursing about my luck and lack of sleep, I just kept moving, loading snacks in bags (that was as important as clothes to me), also loading the largest stitching bag know to man with projects.  I had a few already started projects, my 2 pre-stitch pieces and the supplies for some of what we were buying so I could also stitch on them once the show started.  I had the computer, printer and all the office supplies ready to go , and 5 books for the trip packed and sat down at 5:00 a.m. to catch a nap.  Sara came by around 8:30 to help me load the car and then we got her stuff loaded and we were off. We arrived at our first stop, Annapolis Cheesecake Factory and had lunch, delicious pot stickers and Sara's usual salad, and then it was Nashville or bust!  We make it a 2 day trip with poor Sara driving the entire way, because I was too busy reading (one book down).  I didn't so much as put the needle through the canvas work piece I had for the car.  But as you can see from the picture, I did get some stitching in finally in Nashville.  We arrived at our destination on Wednesday afternoon, unloaded, and stitched.  I looked at all I brought but I just wanted to finish Sara's canvas work project, which became my project.    So that became the only thing I worked on the entire time.  I couldn't believe it was taking so darn long, but now that I'm done the major part (now I'm working on the border and should have it done this week) I'm glad I stuck with it.  Of course after seeing all the stuff at the show....well my stitching tote is overwhelmed with new projects.  I'm still working on pre-stitch for Sheri Jones classes so at this point I can't work on anything else.  To make matters worse, I got done one half of the back panel on the Garden Variety Long Pocket and realized I had stitched the panel on the wrong side.  It was supposed to be on the left side and I stitched it on the right.  So I brought it into the shop on Thursday and told Sara to cute me a new piece of linen because there was just too much to tear out.  She looked at it and said, don't tear it out, just keep going because she didn't care if the panels were reversed.  While in the beginning I was opposed to leaving it, by Sunday I was on board.  We had problems with the computer and printer in Nashville so I didn't do any tickets or tag the charts, etc., while we were there.  So Thursday I got the boys to unload the car and Sara and I started working.  I got the tickets done and inventory loaded into the computers while Sara got the tickets on the  merchandise and was busy getting it on the racks.  Sunday I realized something was wrong and as it turns out, there was a glitch in the system here and none of the  merchandise I had put in the computer for the past 3 days was showing up.  I'm telling you I was so aggravated.  Vernon came in this morning to see what he could do, and the end result we called our "tech" guy and told him to put us on our own server since he couldn't figure out what went wrong.  Now I've got to go back and reenter everything....UGH!!!  Not a great start to my day.   But this time around I'll get to really look through what came back with us.  As I was doing some of the tickets I made sure some went into my bag, but I didn't get to go through everything.  After going into Erica Michaels show room I became obsessed with the strawberry's.  While I haven't stitched a lot of them, I have done a couple, but the strawberries done on silk gauze are just too cute and then she stitched one of the gauze strawberry's on 32 ct. linen over 2 and it became a giant strawberry and she had me sold.  Sold I tell I'm doing that too.  Too darn cute!!!!  I went through a few showrooms saying, "Sara I can do one of those for a sample."  Finally Sara said, "Mom you have said that in too many of the rooms, you can't possibly get all of them done."  Just you wait, as soon as this pre stitch is done I'm going to be stitching 24/7.  Can't wait!  Got to start loading our website so I'll talk later.  Have a great day

Monday, February 22, 2016

What a beautiful day we're having in Ocean City.  The past weekend gave us just a hint of spring with temperatures going up to 60 degrees and while it is colder today, in the 40's, the sun is shining, the water is a little choppy but glistening and when you go outside you don't really need a coat...lovely.  Inside, we are getting ready for our annual trip to Nashville.  Usually my Nashville prep starts at 10 p.m. the night before we leave.  Then I start doing laundry, etc. and work until about 4 a.m, and exhausted before we even get in the car.  But this year I've decided to act like an adult and do the prep work early.  Of course the first thing I think about is what am I going to take stitch wise.  Sara came over to me this morning and asked if I wanted to take the supplies for the Quaker Box (I called it a mini tote) from Mani di Donna as it is being released in Nashville and I usually find something Friday from one of the designers that I work on and finish before we leave Nashville.  Last year it was a Shepherd's Bush project.  Of course I said yes, so it is now safely in my Nashville bag along with the perpetually worked on in bits and pieces, "Autumn Logs" from Needle Delights Originals.  It's a canvas work piece which Sara started a couple of years ago.  She never took it upstairs so it sat here with the smallest block worked and 95% unfinished, since she hasn't touched it since she did the center block.  I love many of the canvas work pieces, however, I always tend to pick blues or greens and Sara picks everything but.  So while the colors aren't what I would have chosen, one day while sitting in the shop I got bored because whatever I was stitching was completed and I didn't want to start a whole new project just then.  And then I spied the canvas work piece and decided Sara was never going to finish it so I took it on.  It's like doing decorative stitches on a log cabin quilt block, only instead of fabric it's a canvas.  Certainly takes me back to my crewel and needlepoint days.  I've always loved the variety of stitches available, and each leg of this is a different needlepoint stitch, so interesting.  When I first started working on it I was able to complete rows on all four sides quickly...however, as the block is being worked each side takes longer to complete as it grows in size,  so now I don't get 4 sides done each day at work so I've now put it down and just work on my counted work.  But I've decided it would make a great car now it's my mission to work on this while in the car (Sara doesn't think I'll get it done because I fall asleep too much).  I usually do a large count project on the way down and another on the way back, so I'm hoping I stay awake long enough coming and going to get this done.  Fingers crossed!!!!  But I don't let that stop me from taking a few other projects, just in case.  I'm going to limit myself on how much I take because we are busy a lot of the time in Nashville, and I do have to work on my pre-stitching as well.  Sara always takes about 15 projects with her and she has less time to work on them than I do, but I usually take approx. 6 projects if that many.  Because reading is important to me and I try to read a few books while I'm gone.  One on the ride down and one on the ride back, in fact I don't know how I fit sleeping into this schedule.  But somehow I do.  When I told Sara I was starting to pack so I didn't have to do anything the night before the only thing she mentioned was the Cheesecake Factory gift cards.  Food is a major issue for us when on trips.  In fact the market is just something to do between breakfast and dinner I think.  Oh, I'm so excited...Cheesecake and needlework... this is my happy place.  I've picked a Brenda Gervais patriotic piece to stitch on 20 ct. over 2 and spent the greater part of today pulling threads and trying to match them with Weeks perle cottons.  Sometimes it is just easier to do the pattern as shown, but what's the challenge in that I ask?  Judy stopped by yesterday and brought us a bucket of Fisher's caramel corn, still hot from the kettle.  She thought we left for Nashville tomorrow and wanted us to have a snack....the caramel corn is calling my name but I'm refusing to open this bucket....I'm actually going to leave it in the shop this week so I'm not tempted to open it....although I could open it, eat it and then pick up a new bucket and just tell Sara it's the same one Judy left with us.  God the choices I have to make. I must remain strong!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Having a great time stitching old and new.....

At the moment I'm in pre-stitch hell, but I've managed to knock out a few new pieces for the shop.  I've designated Mon-Thurs as pre-stitch nights, but Friday-Sunday it's a free for all, as I can pick anything I like to stitch.  So this week I pulled "Black Flowers Sewing Box" by Mani di Donna out of my UFO tote, to finish the stitching and then put it together.  I had stitched the front of the design  already but wasn't really happy as it seemed crowded.  So I pulled it all out and started over.  It's stitched on 30 ct. Straw by Weeks and I stitched it using 1 strand of NPI 933,  instead of the 2 strands which I used in the beginning.  The look is now perfect.  In one of the pictures the fabric looks white but it's actually the color of the box in the second picture that's true.  The fact that they call it a box is a bit misleading, as it's more of a mini-tote for stitching supplies.  So cute it finishes to approx. 3-3.5" round.  While I find finishing projects to be daunting, once I sat down and started this I found it went together easier than expected.  I learned a lot and found areas I needed to improve on, but since it was a first for me I think it's alright for a first time.  Can't believe I've never actually made a box before.  When I first started stitching this in the summer I really thought I'd try to find a papier mache box to just wrap the design around and call it a day.  The handle was a bit perplexing because I would need to find something close to the original size so that the handle, which is included with the chart, would fit well.  But last week as I silently moaned about it I decided to buck up and just do it.  And I'm so glad I did.  Of course, as I'm preparing the skirtex and it's creasing in spots I was wishing I had mylar as a replacement for it so it would be rounded, but after all was said and done, it looks close enough to round, however, Sara had just ordered mylar for a project she has so she gave me a piece and so next mini tote (and there will be a next) I'll be replacing the skirtex with mylar.  I also should have trimmed my center piece because after getting everything in place glued, it did make it appear a little bit oval towards the center...but again, live and learn.  I was so concentrated on the attachment of the handle I couldn't see anything else.  I had read earlier how someone felt the handle was attached and too floppy so to handle that problem I used mat board to make the center piece, using the handle as a guide, used an awl to make holes in the fabric covered mat board to match the holes in the handle and stitched the handle going through the holes I made.  It really holds tight so the handle is held tight to the center divider and doesn't flop at all.  Anyway, it was fun to do and I can't wait to do another.  She has designed a Quaker mini tote which is coming out in Nashville, so I'm really excited to get one of those going.  Maybe I'll even start it in Nashville....oh, the excitement mounts.  The second finish was my Debbie Liming challenge piece from Superbowl weekend.  I jokingly said (always gets me into trouble), "I'm telling you this is a one night project, start to finish."  I think perhaps Debbie is sick of me saying how some of these projects are one night finishes so she said, "Well then I can expect to see that finished tomorrow."  Sometimes I should just shut up!  But needless to say I wasn't about to return to the shop Sunday without this project done start to finish.  Thank God I'd just finished "Merry Santa" and "Madam Cottontail" both of which are pockets as well so I knew there was no learning curve to conquer.  I have also been using my machine a lot more so that is getting easier as well.  So as soon as I got home from work I started.  Stitching was easy to finish, a few hours and then the work began for me.  First I couldn't use the fabric included with the chart because of my problem with everything having to be even.  Lizzie Kate has designed these pockets to have an edging of fabric on the front but it doesn't continue to the back (since the back is the same fabric as the edging on the front).  That makes it uneven for me so I have to have the same edging of fabric on both front and back, even though the back is the fabric.  (just be glad you don't have the same issue I have because it drives you crazier).  Anyway, I felt I had the perfect fabric , thanks to my never ending fabric hoarding, and I did.  The colors were perfect so I got to cutting and sewing.  I just closed my eyes for a minute and next thing I knew it was 5:30 the race was on.  I managed to get it done so I could show Debbie it truly was a one night project, but next time I'm going to say 2 days project just to save myself.  But honestly, if you started the stitching in the morning, you would get it done by bedtime, including the finishing. (Apparently I just can't help myself).  Anyway, after bringing it,  in I then obsessed over finding a little rabbit to put it in as an  Easter present.  You could use candy, a little gift, whatever, and give it to a grandchild, or your child.  Then I said, "Sara, if you were having Easter dinner and invited family over you could put the place settings in the little pocket and sit one at each place.  Yes, she just looked at me, rolled her eyes, and walked over to the other shop.  Sometimes I just need to know when to stop!