Saturday, February 2, 2019

Superbowl Sale now in progress

Friday-Sara and I are in retreat mode for the stitchers  arriving from Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania as well as Superbowl Sale mode which starts today.  Yesterday, Sara was in her usual spot, the grocery store while I chose to elude the cold weather by stitching and finishing models for February.  First up was the "Year of Celebration"-February from Hands on Design.  Such a fun fast stitch and an easy finish, although I seem to struggle to cut the Weeks Wool straight, but I do the best I can and let it fly.  In this case I used Merlot Wool and love it.  I had the heart button covers from who knows where for so long and why I ever bought them is another mystery, but finally found a use for one, only 4 more to find a home for, so count me thrilled to use something out of my older stash.  Anyway, the metal on the back of the heart, which is a casing for the button on a shirt it is suppose to cover, actually wouldn't stick to the magnet, but since the heart has the little casing that opens for the button,  I stuck a small magnet in the cover and now it sticks beautifully.  I'm having as much fun finding these charms, buttons, etc to use to decorate the hanger as everything else.  I've talked about my issue with things being balanced or odd colors together and at first when I started January's piece I was having a problem with Cathy's use of the orange to outline but I used it and once done it didn't bother me at all.  On February she also used a turquoise color which seemed so out of place on this piece, but again, I decided to go with the flow (Sara hates it when I change things) and again, it doesn't bother me once it's stitched.  Sometimes you just have to step out of your box.  At 70 years of age it's getting easier for me apparently to try new things....10 years ago I doubt I'd go with the flow.  Or maybe I'm getting too old to make decisions, who knows....I like going with the flow because it's mindless...I have no decisions to make except what to use to hang it.

On to the next finish.  I finally got Brenda Gervais', "All Bundled Up" finished and it was no easy task.  Everything that could go wrong, well, not everything but I did have constant issues including breaking the sewing machine needle because I got excited that I was finally getting it done and I didn't pay attention when I changed to a zipper foot and didn't move the needle over.  Lesson learned again!  Anyway, the important thing here is that the piece is done.  It is the largest pillow I've stitched and finished and I wasn't really aiming for that so even though I measured it to begin with and knew it was going to be approx 18",  I guess I just didn't think about it then.  As I was working it at some point I told Sara I thought I made a mistake for stitching this on the 20 count over 2 because I could see that it was going to be bigger than I imagined, but once you are at the halfway point you don't want to give up and start again so I just plowed on.   The size however, created a problem for me with the pillow insert, however I ended up taking a pillow off the bed, took out some of the stuffing (I didn't realize it would be that difficult to do until I started the process and while I struggled with getting rid of approx. 5" of stuffing, I finally won the battle and that is what I stuffed it with.   You can get the idea of it's size as it's sitting on one of my dining room chairs.  (you can see the needlepoint seat it sits on which is one of the 6 chairs with needlepoint seats my grandmother stitched around 1940, and which I still use the set in my dining room.  


Brenda Gervais is always a  really fun stitch and allowed me to use several creative stitches.  Stitched on 20 ct. Weeks Dye Works Blue Jeans linen using WDW and DMC pearl cotton fibers.  And my final finish this week was one of Heartstring Samplery Festive Fobs-Valentine Edition.  Stitched on 32 ct. Antique White linen over 1 thread using the called for threads, these are fun to stitch and it's an easy finish although because the scissor fob is so small I do have a problem finishing those, but muddle through anyway, but I definitely need to improve that finish. 

Because this is a Valentine pin cushion I decided to use my 3 grandson's initials as they are my Valentines (although Sara and Mary could also think it's for them since two of the initials match them.  In any event I decided to put the 3 names on the back so years from now people won't be wondering who the "I" stands for.  The most exciting thing this morning is I get to pick out new projects (although I might just work on the 4, which I started along with the 3 shown here.  But then again, Hands on Design latest short stack is calling to me and it is for Valentine's day so I think it should be the next to stitch.  Right now I'm off to get ready for a fun weekend with some great stitchers who will keep me entertained all weekend.  Well, regardless of my prediction that if everyone else sees snow we will see is what we saw starting around 10:30 a.m.  This continued until 5.00 p.m.  So we weren't left out of the actual snow storm...while it wasn't exactly a snow store we did get some, perhaps around an inch, at most.   Don't you hate it when it snows and you don't get a snow day from it.  UGH...but with our stitchers in town and staying here on the property we just couldn't do it.  But it sure stopped me from going to the grocery store to get the food I'm making for our shop Superbowl party, so tomorrow better be clear and hopefully sunny so I can get there.  Now I'm one day away from prep work.  UGH!  We've had a great first day and oh the finishing I've seen today.  Unbelievable...damn I should have taken pictures.  Maybe someone will bring them back in so I can do just that.  Crap! I never remember to do that.  Have a great stitching weekend whatever the weekend.  Talk to you soon.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Snow & Sunshine here...but I'm thinking of snow

Yes, I finally finished "All Bundled Up" by Brenda Gervais and I'm thrilled with the outcome.  As I worked it I was questioning my choice of stitching this on 20 ct. over two.  But now that it's finished....I like it but  still feel that perhaps at 18" x 12"  it was a bit too large for a pillow and was thinking a banner of some sort, but Sara says pillow so that's what will happen, hopefully next week on my days off. 

 I picked WDW 20 ct. Blue Jeans as linen because I wanted the snowman to pop off the linen.  For him I used WDW Whitewash.  I used WDW Carrot for his nose which I stitched first with cross stitch and then satin stitched over that (by stitching it first and then putting satin stitch over that, it gives the nose more dimension, as it sits on top of the linen.  I also stitched the scarf first and then did a chain stitch over two stitched cross stitches to hopefully somewhat resemble knitting.  I used black beads for eyes, mouth and buttons.  I stitched the checks in DMC 950.  For the Bird I used WDW Garnet for the body and tail, CC Razzleberry for the bargello wing, DMC Black for the face and CC Ye Old Gold for the beak and the legs.  The shoes are WDW Chestnut.  The birds scarf is  CC Second Hand Rose with a turkey work fringe on the scarf and a brown bead for his eye.  Snowflakes are done using WDW Whitewash.  The vines and outline on the leaves is done in WDW Guacamole and the darker color on the leaves is WDW Moss.  The small flowers on the vines are done with WDW Red Pear and again stitched first and then satin stitched over that.  The larger flowers are done in WDW Garnet with a CC Ye Old Gold outline with the inside outline also done with Ye Old Gold and the center of the flower are French Knots done in Red Pear.   These larger pieces challenge me to use different stitches to get dimension and are fun because they normally stitch up quickly.  Now I am finished (I think even though we just got the Festive Fob-Winter Edition in which showcases snowmen) with January snow, and I am moving on to Valentines and February stitches.  I've managed to find several I want to do so I'm  off and stitching like crazy.  And getting ready for  Superbowl Sale and Nashville market.  While designers are in a frenzy to get designs done, Sara and I are in a frenzy trying to figure out what we are taking to stitch on.  So many things to choose from so we both end up with several projects with us.  Sara has been honing in on taking class projects and has managed to finish several.  I, on the other hand, have not finished one class project I've taken.  Perhaps I'll take one this year as I have one I've taken to 2 Nashville Markets and still have not worked on it.  Well I still have time to think about it.  Last weekend was Camp Wannastitch held in Ocean City by the EGA and we had volunteers on hand to help out.  Stasi Buhrman, who stood for 3 days and cut fabric, thank you angel from heaven as far as I concerned.  I sincerely hate standing on my feet all day doing that.  Stasi is also an expert at helping stitchers with choosing linen and fibers so she is definitely the volunteer you want to have.  Debbie Liming is helpful in finding things for people and suggestions, as well, on linen and fibers, Thanks Debbie, appreciated the assist.   Kathy took over on Salty Yarns register and assistance as well and then Sara was there to direct traffic.  Where was I?  As usual I sat in Sea Trader hoping I wouldn't have to get up, although I did get caught up in the frenzy when the lines got too long in Salty Yarns, stitchers came over to me to get them out of the shop in a timely fashion.  It's always a lot of fun for us when the shop is busy, makes time go by quickly and I love to see or hear about changes people have made in designs, or how they finished something.  Anyway, it was a great group of stitchers and we really appreciated seeing them.  January isn't exactly booming here in Ocean City so to have a busy weekend is a real blessing for us.  So a Big Thank You to Camp Wannastitch participants.  Hope to see you next year!  And a big Thank God you were here, to Stasi, Debbie and Kathy.  We are rushing towards the SuperBowl sales and have a few lists already from some stitchers, so if there is something you need, don't wait to come in and find it isn't here, just e-mail us, text us, phone us and let us get it in if we can, then you won't be disappointed.  But you need to do that ASAP as we are placing orders.  Remember, The sale pertains to instock items only.  The sale starts with 10% of anything under $24.99- 20% of $25.00 - 49.99 and 30% off anything over $50.00.  As usual the sale extends the entire weekend, so Friday, February 1, 2019 thru Monday, February 4, 2019,  the sale is on.   It pertains to anything in Salty Yarns, nothing is excluded.  As one stitcher announced, the best day is Sunday as we have a Superbowl food frenzy going on as well.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Productive few days off....

Well, I should say Thursday since I did nothing but stitch Tuesday and Wednesday and then Thursday decided to finish the stitching already finished.  First I was thrilled to remember where "Candy Cane Wishes" was....after Christmas it's always a crap shoot finding everything I put somewhere so this was an accomplishment.  Anyway,

Stitched on 40 ct. Lakeside Linen's Vintage River Willow using WDW, GA, and CC fibers.  These 5" x  3 1/2"X 2"paper mache oval box projects are so much fun and they are also fast so that's a double winner for me.  The finishing is also one of the easiest as well.  I used Lambswool rick rack for finishing.  Great project!  Then I moved on the Hands on Design's latest, "A Year of Celebration"., January.  This was such a hot design I really didn't think about stitching it initially for the shop because there seemed to be no need.  It sells itself.  But....I wanted to come up with a different way to display this design.  The chart shows a clip board which you make for it...which is fine, but I wanted something other than a clipboard, so I had to stitch it to see what I'd come up with.  Sara was fine with the clip board but when I discussed with her my thoughts, we walked around the shop and she picked up the white washed hornbook we had for another project and because it's a little wider than some of the other hornbooks and it is white, which is perfect for January I was on board.  Because I wanted to be able to use it for all the designs in the chart pack, I decided to atttach a button on the hornbook which I would be able to hang the monthly pieces on.  Then Sara mentioned using a small spool and attaching a specialty item on it which would match the stitched piece.  This is my finished project...

It's hard to see but I glued a small magnet to the hornbook, and then attached a white sparkly snowflake to a spool which I glued a magnet to, glued a small metal disc the size of the magnet I attached to the hornbook , so+  I can change the spool out each month with a different charm or button on it.  Then when I finished stitching I just attached a thin ribbon to it for a hanger.  These designs are quick projects, one or two days.  I did have to get in my embellishment fix, so I attached 4 white beads as showballs above the snowman.  While the models are done on one fabric, Dirty Belfast linen, I thought it needed to have color since I was using a white hornbook, so I used Picture This Plus Helix and then used the colors shown on the chart.  I will also use different colors of linen to match design for the entire series.  Fun, fast project.  To back the design I used a piece of Weeks Dye Works wool.   Since I was on a roll with finishing, I decided to try the needlepoint wine bag.  Normally I don't finish needlepoint myself, but with this small thin design I couldn't figure out why I couldn't do it and decided there was nothing wrong with trying.  So this is what I discovered, I could do it and so here it is.  Siunce it's needlepoint it was a fast stitch, two days, (tent stitch basically) and at the bottom I did the green sea grass in a satin stitch and then I went to my bead supplies and found the turquoise starfish which matched the rest of the colors beautifully.  I did a twisted cord using the blue and lime green silks and voila...done!

So now I'm back to stitching and boy do I have a lot to choose from.  I've started on 20 count over 2, stitching Brenda Gervais' latest snowman,  "All Bundled Up", and at the sametime I'm stitching "Festive Fobs-Valentine Edition", by Heartstring Samplery, Plum Street's , "Heritage Sampler and Noah's Christmas Ark", A Just Nan piece and Erica Michael's silk gauze strawberry and to just add to the mass stitch, "Halloween March"  which is an adorable needlepoint canvas by Ashley Dillon, and this is definitely not an easy, fast stitch, but I take turns stitching on everything at once so it will eventually get done.  But this is what I'm busy with, what are you working on.  Many of you post your stitching on facebook, which I love to see.  Always interesting to see the difference fabrics, different fibers make on a piece and then the finishing I'm amazed with.  So many creative stitchers out there...keep it up because you spur those of us watching to up our game.  Love it!  Have a great weekend and if snow is in your future hope you get to stay home and stitch.  

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sara is off to Jamaica and I'm left holding down the fort for a week....UGH!

Luckily Kathy is here working Salty Yarns so I can work and play in Sea Trader.  With Sara gone I was able to stock up on necessary items like fabric, for projects to be done first, as well as any patterns I want.  I have been working on projects started in 2018 and one that I started about 4 years ago and struggle with since it's 40 ct. gauze, but I'm determined so make myself stitch on it for about 1 hr each day.  Eventually it will be done...I pray!  I started a patriotic piece last year knowing I wouldn't get it done for a while, but I've also picked it up and I work on it each day as well.  Fortunately most of it is over 2, so this shouldn't be too bad, but I'm so used to working on smalls anything that takes over 2 days becomes tedious.  But I'm determined.   I also finished a needlepoint project, Point to Point's Seahorse Wine Bag.  Two days, stitching was finished, but it's going to take forever for me to finish it.  I loved stitching it though and have now picked out a much bigger project that I've been waiting for 3 years to start...let's hope it doesn't take me another 3 years to get it finished.  I had the good sense to purchase a stitch guide with it so it shouldn't be a problem.  With cross stitch I can often tell just by looking at a project what stitches I want to use other than regular cross stitch, but for some reason I don't have that ability with needlepoint.  So until I develop that ability, stitch guides are a must.  Although I used a stitch guide with my last needlepoint Easter Egg last year, but in the end didn't like some of the stitches so I changed them, but it was the stitch guide that kick started the project.  I did decide last week I would do the monthly series from Hands on Design, " A Year of Celebration" and did finish that in 2 days so I'm thrilled but now to finish.  I am not that fond of the clipboard finishing although I do want to use one display piece for all the designs since I will only display them one at a time, and Sara found the perfect hornbook for me to use.  And with some additions to it I should be able to hang a different design each month on it.  We'll see..I plan on finishing January this coming week.  I also finished another Festive Fob from Heartstring Samplery-Harvest Edition.  I love these pieces, however, I was tested with this one.  My fault, Beth did not design this series for me, but as small designs to be used for fobs, etc.  But she displays then on a chart all together and when I saw the chart I realized you could stitch them as they are shown as one piece and they make the cutest mini samplers.  As I said, I've done the Beekeeping Edition, the Seaside Edition and now the Harvest Edition.

I did encounter a problem with this one, as I said, because Beth turned the floral piece next to the turkey sideways on the chart (keep in mind she designed these pieces to be used on smalls so it doesn't matter for that how it's put in the chart, but if you are doing small samplers you don't want one motif to be turned sideways.  So I took one motif out and used it on the scissor fob, and then turned the floral piece so it's sitting properly on my sampler and I did add 2018 down the side next to the floral piece just to fill in space.  And to be  honest, I did stitch a different squirrel as I wasn't fond of the primitive squirrel Beth used.  This is the first time I've done that as I have loved most elements Beth has used on the rest of her Festive Fobs....And as with all of these mini samplers, I added a mini charm in the empty space beside the this case a mini acorn.  There are around 11 of these Festive Little Fob patterns and I'm on track to stitch every one of them.  Great designs and fun, fast projects.  .Since February is right around the corner, I've decided to do the Valentine Edition.  Let the fun begin.   I've also got a Brenda Gervais Snowman to start...picked the fabric today..using 20 ct. over 2 so it's going to be one of the big pillows....such fun to do.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Why am I never ready for Christmas? This blog never got posted so it's outdated but I'm posting it anyway.

Today, 12/17, is the last day we are open until after Christmas at which time we will open Friday, 12/28 through Monday until the middle of April when we go to regular 7 days a week.
Every year I think I'll be ready, and yet here we are just a week out and I'm still in a frenzy.  It's not like it crept up on me...I was complaining about stores having Christmas decorations out before Halloween, so how does this happen year after year.  Plus as the children have gotten past the little kid age, gifts are harder to find.  Two of my grandchildren still don't know what they want.  Exactly how do I shop for that?  One only wants money....I hate that and when I said to Michael, "How are you going to feel on Christmas if I just hand you an envelope with money in it?"  And he said, "Oh, I thought you would give me other stuff too." it.  Mary has no list, they are going to Disneyworld in February for Izi's birthday so she wants money.  Sweet Jesus, I'm baffled.  On the plus side I've been cleaning the house so that should be ready.  I mean a hard clean too so that's a good thing.  However, I've been out of the stitching mood for a few weeks now so I've done very little.  However, I did start Brenda Gervais, Candy Cane Wishes and that seems to have kicked me back into it.  I love her small boxes and have managed to stitch every one of them at this point.

With any luck I should have it finished by Wednesday...God willing and then I should have it finished by Christmas. (update: stitching is done, not to assemble it)  Since the person I made it for has received it for her birthday, here was a finish I had earlier this month.  It's Blackberry Lane Designs, Christmas Memories

So much fun to stitch, but I ran into a bit of trouble with it.  Life would be so easy if I just stitched things the way they were shown on the charts, but noooo...I have to use colors I like and in this particular chart, I didn't understand something so I made a decision to replace those items which I already stitched so that mean I had to rip out and redo.  Because there were several of them on this  tree that meant more than one revision, plus I didn't do it immediately I waited until after I had already stitched quite a bit of the tree so then I had to replace them with things that fir in their space.  It's like cutting off the table leg.  I'd think a branch was done but after adding something on one side I'd think I'd need to add something more to the other side and this happened over and over again.  But let me say, These trees are fabulous that Marie designs, so far I've done the Freedom Tree, Halloween Tree and now Christmas tree.  I've also managed to do bases that go with the trees.  Just paint and scrapbook paper and a cute gift.  Stitched on 32 ct. linen using DMC.  Easy to stitch when you stay on the reservation, easy to finish and you can finish as an ornament as well.  During Tangles retreat, Vera Means was in and brought her show and tell, which was fabulous so I wanted to show that to you.    The first picture shows 3 of Nancy Ree's, Needle Delights,  canvaswork Halloween pictures which Vera then combined  into a triplex.  Then Vera added a few embellishments to the overall piece.  For those coming to Salty Yarns in 2019, Vera kindly allowed us to keep it until next October 2019, so you can see it in the Halloween room.

The next picture shows her Christmas Village which Vera stitched as one piece and then found the perfect frame for it.  This we don't have on display so enjoy it here.  The Tangles retreat ladies come twice a year and spend a lot of time in the shop so we thank the attendees for allowing us to share the weekend with them.  Always a fun time.  Also thanks to Judy and Kathy who were here to help me while Sara sunbaths in Jamaica.  I couldn't do it without Judy and Kathy.  They do all the heavy lifting while I just sit in Sea Trader and talk to the attendees.  

Some of you will already have seen the pictures of our Stitch 'n Bitch Christmas dinner which we have every December at Fager's Island Restaurant.  This we year we had a record of number of  attendees and it was a wonderful full night of goodie bags, I swear I took home an endless supply of goodie bags filled with wonderful treats and I also was gifted many fabulous gifts by the ladies.  I have to thank Judy and Debbie who tried to keep me straight all night, but I have to admit I was a bit over served, but had a wonderful time on Tuesday going through all the goodie bags (I'm telling you almost every stitcher who comes brings a goodie bag for everyone..amazing).  I'm posting this since it's already past due.  Have a safe and fun night tonight as you celebrate New Year's Eve.  I'm taking my normal position for this night....on the sofa with a cold soda and my T.V.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

So much has gone on here at Salty Yarns.....exciting

Since my last blog post we've had 3 events, first was the  Delaware Valley Sampler Guild, and this is a Guild retreat, we just have the location so we host it,  but we have such fun with this group of women, plus we consider them locals as we see many of the stitchers all year long so they hold a special place in our hearts, especially since the Jersey coalition brought me a giant eclair from Rosenfeld's Deli.  Yes ladies, thank you for that, it made a great dessert on Friday night and an even better breakfast on Saturday.  I loved it!  So appreciate your kindness.  But I need to get back on topic.  As a sampler guild you would think it would be all about samplers, which is a focus of theirs and we see  great stitching going on with samplers, but they also like the smalls and fun projects.  Last year we gave them, (goodie bag project),  the Brenda Gervais, Spirits & Spells, as a kit with everything included, as I had just finished the model for the shop and loved it.  Sara was concerned because it is a Sampler Guild, but I told her we were doing it anyway because I liked it so much and according to Stacy Stinson, who is an officier of the Guild, they also loved it, so this year we gave them Brenda Gervais, Autumn in Baltimore because I finished it this summer and loved it, as well.  Same size as Spirits and uses the same papier mache box which we already carry so Sara kitted it with everything they would need and that went into the goodie bag.  I'm not sure anyone has finished it yet, but I'm sure many will stitch it.   Anyway, this is a great group of stitchers and a lot of fun to have in the shop.  Best of all is their show and tell.   Somehow while I'm oogling their projects and commenting on them I never remember to take a darn picture. So you will have to take my word that this group has fabulous show & tell.   They had several newbies with them this year so it was exciting to see all our old friends, plus make new ones. So a big Thank You to the Delaware Valley Sampler Guild.  Slightly off topic, however  Someone came into the shop and we talked about retreats and they wanted to know what was the purpose of a retreat.   So I began my long version of what happens at retreats and now I want to tell anyone who has never done a retreat.....this is where you learn lots of information, tips, time saving hacks, finishing ideas as well as getting help when you are stuck on something or just would like an opinion...mercy we certainly have plenty of them.  Now if the event also has classes, even better.  Here you are learning from teachers of the art, plus getting all the supplies for a special project.   So if you are lucky enough to have a shop in your area, or there is a retreat being held in your area, please take the time to sign up and go.  You will not regret it.  Even after stitching for 61 years (my first sampler was finished and framed age 9).  I am amazed when someone gives me a tip that I haven't heard before.  And believe it or not I'm still learning.  And I learn new techniques by the stitchers retreating here and get wonderful finishing ideas from them.  These are women (in our case mostly) who become life long friends in stitching.  If you aren't lucky enough to have a local group, then look for retreats and go to one.  You will not be sorry.  Most shops have them now so they are all over the country.   Anyway, thank you to all the lovely stitchers who came to the event....we love you and appreciate you more than we can say.  It's always a good feeling to walk into a room of stitchers.   Three weekends ago  was our big year end Salty Yarns Jamboree which was a fun filled exhausting weekend for one and all.  Since there are 3 classes during Jamboree, you are either running to a class, eating before class, between classes and after class, so I don't get as much time to talk to everyone, but I'm thrilled to report this year we had decent weather for both retreats.  The hurricane, Michael (and I don't mean my grandson) came through at night so we barely knew it came at all.  The next day was gorgeous, sunny, bright and almost bikini weather.  So the ladies began arriving Thursday and claiming their seats in the lobby. .  As always there was a  little glitch in our system...someone forgot to mention something and this year was no different.  Mary decided to close the hotel starting the Sunday before the event and reopen for the event with the first  stitchers and teachers arriving on Thursday, unfortunately Beth had e-mailed Sara that she would be flying in on Wednesday and Sara never checked her e-mail.  Oops (believe it or not this is not the first time this has happened.) Anyway, it was no big deal because we were ready on Monday, so when Mary  found out she wasn't disturbed by it at all and was back at the desk working on event goodie bags,, food etc.  I was busy at home working on Hands on Design's Halloween short stack, Put Your Hat On and the ornament for the challenge.  Neither went well in case you were curious.  I measured twice before cutting the top and bottom for the short stack and still got it wrong, and ran out of ideas for the ornament bubble challenge so while I got it done it was an embarrassment compared to the others.  I'll be stepping up my game if we ever do another.  Anyway, Beth from Heartstring Samplery arrived on Wednesday as well as a few of our stitchers and Thursday,  Sharon Verbos (Purple Thread) came aboard as well as several more of our stitchers.  Friday the rest of the crew arrived including Kathy Rees (Needle Delights) who arrived Friday afternoon as she lived in the area of Florida that received damage from the hurricane so we were lucky she was still able to come at all..  While we normally have only female stitchers, Everett, whose wife, Sara,  usually attends decided to come as well and take part in the event.  He began stitching last year to prepare for it and he has become a really good stitcher.  He finished his 40 ct. project and it was perfect. He's as concerned with the back of his project as well as the front (unbelievably), so I can attest that he is a neat, clean and exact stitcher. This year's projects were wonderful (although I could say that every year as they always are).  Beth (Heartstring Samplery) sent a pre-stitch project to the attendees sometime in August and I didn't see it until Debbie came for Jackie's class in September and she was working feverishly on it (she didn't get the project until the end of August or early September).  When I saw it was 40 ct. I said, "Yikes, but you are almost 1/2 done, so you can get it done in the next 2-3 weeks," but then she told me there was a 2nd piece with alot of stitching as well (turned out to be the strawberry) so I became doubtful she would get it done in time due to all the over one stitching on 40 count and such a short time frame.  Glad to report she got it done...Yea Debbie!!!  Of course our over achiever Stasi Buhrman had both pieces completed in August (there is always one in every crowd).  Good for you Stasi....knew you would do it.  Many of the stitchers got their class projects finished and they are fabulous.  It's great when you have pre-stitch and actually take home a finished project...isn't it?   We also had wonderful trunk shows from each of the designers.  I've only done a couple of canvaswork projects but I loved doing it...just the different stitches you use is so interesting and it gave me a chance to use some of the beautiful fibers you just don't get to use in counted cross stitch.  And Sharon has started a Winterthur Collection that started with a piece done in class that is interesting in design as well as color and history.  I thought I took a picture of this project but can't find it on my phone.  As soon as I do I'll post it.  
And here's Bernadette's finished Heartstring Samplery project.  Ort container, Strawberry and the pins as well.  A good time was had by all! So pretty...the container was metal and the pins were glass....a fabulous project.  Thank you Beth for the time and effort that went into this.  I know the stitchers really appreciated it.  Everyone likes to take a project home finished.    

Because the other two classes didn't have pre-stitching, we didn't have a finished project from anyone yet so I'll show you part of their trunk shows...(Since I wrote this I now have Needle Delights class project below)

Purple Thread

Needle Delights

Wow, Candi brought her Needle Delights class project in this past weekend so here is Candi's Needle Delight version of the class project.  Love the colors.  Thanks Candi!

Heartstring Samplery

Of course you can't see everything but you can check out their designs on their web sites.  Always worth the time to take a look.  Google Purple Thread or Sharon Verbos...for Purple thread as I've seen it on Pinterest under her name I think.   She has just started designing for Winterthur and the class piece was the first kit from that collection.  A lovely interesting piece with is sure to excite the sampler crowd.  I do have a picture of her class project, but haven't located it on the phone yet (I am definitely IPhone challenged-but eventually I get there and when I do I'll post it.) 
 We also had the 2 challenges this year.  First is my challenge with Jan Hartman, we each work on a project that has been sitting in a bag and we must complete the project by Jamboree.  The one who doesn't finish must pay the one who did finish $25.00.  We've done this for 2 years and so far not a cent has changed hands.  A great way to get stash moved from a pile to a wall or wherever.  Next year may be different as I've chosen to finish Shores of Hawk Run Hollow.  UGH...I don't even know where I've put it.  I was really moving along on this piece and then took it into the shop during an event and didn't see it again for several years, only to look it again when I came across it a couple of years ago.  But I swear I'm going to find it and get it long as I don't get distracted.  We'll see what happens next October.  This year we both worked on the same Hands on Design kit, Dreaming of the Sea, which has been released as a chart only as "Wild Salt Air."  Anyway, I'm thrilled to say we both finished stitching and also each piece had to be finished in it's final form.   Then we had the bubble challenge.  I loved Vonnie's Bubble ornament and had Sara order the bubbles so I could try to do one.  We got the bubbles (clear plastic orbs which you can fill with anything and snap the 2 sides together to form a globe ornament) right before a class in the the spring.  I was talking about them with Stasi when one of the stitchers came over and asked what we were talking about so I handed her a bubble and asked if she'd like to try it.  Then each person that walked over and expressed an interest I handed her a bubble, and on and on until I ran out of bubbles.  I thought it would be an easy challenge.  I found I struggled with a design.  Stasi also was part of the bubble ornament challenge, also did a cute snowman over 1 on 40 count for the bubble.  .  

She got the design from Just Cross Stitch Christmas issue and it was so cute...did I mention over one on 40 ct.   (ugh-I need to step up my stitching game)  It actually looked painted on the linen the stitching was so tiny and the detail was amazing.   She used beads for her snow.   Fabulous job!   Last time I was suppose to do 40 ct. over 2,  I switched to 20 ct. over 1)  It was so cute.    And Debbie not only got her pre -stitch done but then did an amazing job on her bubble ornament which was a take off of a Little House Christmas ornament with the red truck (she did her truck blue since that's her grandson's favorite truck) w/tree....and she had added lights, that operated on a battery, in the windows of the house..beyond amazing..I mean who would have thought to do this.  The bubbles were approx. 2".  I thought I got a

picture of each ornament by itself...I was apparently wrong!   When I was looking at another over 1 on 40 I was amazed because she made it 3 dimensional with the truck shown sitting by itself with the house stitched separately as the background.  ..Sweet you see why my attempt was a little embarrassing. But it's obvious that Stasi and Debbie brought their A game here.  And they were not alone... Crystal  did a double sided ornament inside the full bubble (the rest of ours were in half bubbles), amazing designs - 2 designs, another over achiever!  The more I see all the work everyone did, the more embarrassed I am at my failure to perform.  I'll know better next time...I'll bring my A+ game.  

I barely got one design done, and to be truthful mine was half done since I started it last year and never finished it for a pin cube,  so I stole it from that.   Jan did a snowman using her full bubble as the bottom and a styrfoam ball as the head....really cute even thou there was no stitching still a cute ornament and a great idea. 
Cute right?  She filled the bubble with artificial snow.  So it wasn't stitched but she got a cute ornament done and there really weren't rules regarding stitching so she is in the boundary of the challenge.    Stacy Stinson did a Little House Needleworks design ornament which was really cute done over one,   She picked out elements from the original design and she also added artificial snow...cuteness!  Now with all the designs that we have all collected over the years it was amazing that my Sarah and Stacy picked the same design without knowing they did it until Stacy came into the shop one day before the event and said she had finished her ornament and told Sara what it was.  While Sara had finished stitching hers and it looked different because she used the total design, she never finished it, so I don't show it because her ornament never made it on the tree.  (Note-it is now finished.  This is Stacy's version of the Little House Needleworks ornament.  

Donna Cook finished her half moon santa using specialty stitches.  I have always loved the half moon santa and have stitched a few in my time, Donna then used little snowflakes as the snow.  OMG...cuteness.  Everyone did such a fabulous job of finishing their ornament with scalloped backings, etc.  Yes these ladies showed me how it should of been done.

And while I would love to leave my ornament out of the pictures, it wouldn't be fair to the others who did such a fabulous job so I'm going to take the hit, and show my sorry excuse.  I love the reindeer, don't get me wrong.  I love Just Nan designs, but I didn't do her justice by using it here and I certainly didn't display my best work in the finishing.  So I'm ashamed of my lack of effort and promise to do better next time.  Below you see my embarrassment.  For all the ladies who participated...Thank You for taking the time and putting in so much effort.   It was fun, although embarrassing for me and I would do it again. 

Now I'm thinking we ought to throw the challenge out next year (I can only get better so I'm not afraid to challenge) and throw it out to all attendees.  I can't imagine what fabulous ornaments I'd see.  It really does give you inspiration for doing them and it would give you a leg up in getting stitching done for Christmas.  So if you are interested in doing this let me know.  I'm sure Sara will want to kill me, but I'm always up for a challenge. The weekend was fabulous, the food was fabulous, Thank you Sara, and the stitchers were fun to be around.  Here again, we had new stitchers join us so we want to thank them for joining  this year.  We had a few glitches in the system but all in all a wonderful weekend that I needed 4 days at home to get over.  And then last weekend we had our C.A. Wells Memorial weekend. 

 Again, all about the food and sitting with stitching friends and stitching projects and remembering how the original CA Wells experience was so horrific but has led to many years of memorializing it and now it's a fun weekend to celebrate the experience.  Sara informed me that she wasn't decorating this year, which is part of the fun for me because it's so much fun to be sitting in the midst of Halloween and since the hotel is almost 100 years old it's like being in a haunted hotel.  However, since the elevator men have not shown up to repair the elevator she would have to walk the 5 cartons down from the attic herself and she wasn't doing it.  But Wednesday or Thursday  morning I got the call that John and Chris (men working at the hotel) heard our  tale of woe and they up and got the boxes, so we are back in business.  I'm thrilled because it would not be the same without the decorations no matter how hard we tried to act like it was.  Debbie's came in Wednesday night and Stasi got here Thursday but I was in the weeds as usual with goodie bags and birthday gifts to get done so I didn't arrive until Saturday for the fun.  We weren't sure if Stasi would make it since Rich cut his hand chopping wood and ended up with over 20 stitches in his finger.  But he was a trooper and told her he was alright on Thursday and she come.  We are so glad she did.  Debbie spent Thursday decorating her apartment with Halloween lights, etc.  It is amazing that she brings all this stuff from home and decorates the apartment she's staying in....really puts one in the Halloween mood.  The rest of the original registered CA Wells participants arrived on Saturday and the fun began.  As usual everyone else stitched for 2 days while I ate and talked.  The food ...oh my, it is all about the food.  Everyone brings stuff and then Sara does several things.  I do my cookies (chocolate dipped peanut butter and my leak and potato soup).  I'm telling you its 2 days of grazing, stitching, laughing and talking.  And this year we had a new member join us, 4 month old Jace, Candi's son.  I haven't held a tiny baby in so long, I just loved it.  And on the stitching front, I started and stopped on the Thankgiving Notes by Shepherd's Bush, as I made a mistake I cannot live with and must tear out one side(crap).  However I did finish for Jamboree..Fabulous Fobs-Beehive Edition before Jamboree

As with the previous Fabulous Fobs piece I stitched (Seaside) shown earlier, I stitched not individual pieces but stitched them together as a small sampler on 32 ct., over one.  I intend to do the entire series this way, they are just too cute.  I did have one problem with this piece due to the fact I stitched it on antique white linen.  The white wings of the bee would't show up, so I took Balger #32 pearl blending filiment (I know I said I would never use this again...but it was perfect for this)..and Satin stitched over the white floss to give the wings a see through effect...very nice look I have to say.  I would do this again even if the white showed up on the color of linen just because it's glistening and see through so you see the bee's legs in the large bee and the wings become 3 dimensional.  Next on my list the Turkey for Thanksgiving Fabulous Fobs.  

  I then finished Blackberry Lane's Halloween Tree, which I absolutely love more than the Freedom Tree because the finish was easier this time. 

Have you ever worked on a project and think you like the finish, but then after a couple of hours you look it over again and just feel like it's not quite right yet.  That's was  my story the day I finished this.   I thought I was finished, in fact put the picture on the blog, but by 2:00 p.m. after picking it up I felt it needed to be more stable.   While it did stand up on it's own,  it just didn't feel as stable as it should.    So I looked for a larger base to attach it to, and found nothing.  I needed a round disc, I was thinking wooden, but didn't want to go to Michael's for just that so I went about making one out of mat board, which I painted and then decided I wanted to use scrapbooking paper for the top of the base so I cut that out (thank God for circle cutters.  I have 2 and I can't live without them when it comes to finishing.)  Anyway, originally I wasn't going to use the ribbon because I made feet out of a silver rondelle bead and big round orange and black bead (which I set into the inset in the silver bead) and then glued it all together and glued to the bottom of the mat board.  Then I wanted something to run along the edge to dress up the disk after trying black lace and the Trick or Treat ribbon, the ribbon won out.  So here is the new and improved (I hope)  Hollow Eve Tree Finish.  The 3rd picture shows the beads being used as feet for the stand.  You don't see them but you know they are there so they have to be unique.    

Marie did a fabulous job designing these trees, and I've loved stitching each one so far, Freedom Tree for the 4th of July and now the Hallow Eve's Tree.  I did finish each differently as I  stuffed the Freedom tree and I finished Halloween like a flat fold would be done, before inserting the stick.  I used black rick rack while the designer used orange and I used black beads on the end of each branch in place of orange which is Marie's choice.  I did this because I had black and didn't want to have to go to Michael's to get orange.  Then I mounted it in a large spool which I had painted black, then covered the middle with scrapbook paper and tied Trick or Treat ribbon around the pole to hid a glue mistake.  I had as much fun finishing this one as I did stitching it. And next I finished Hands on Design's,  Put on the Hat short stack.  These are too fun to stitch and I've gotten the short stack finishing down so it's easy to do now, although I do tend to panic the minute I think,  "now I'm going to do the finishing." 

As I reported earlier this should have been at Jamboree since the stitching was finished but I made the mistake (I did measure twice and still got it wrong) of cutting the circles too small.  I cut them the size of the mat board circle which they had to cover...oops...anyway, I finally finished it and love it.  I'm also thrilled to have caught up on the short stacks.  I've finished everyone so far even though I think Harvest and Hat came less than 4 weeks apart (or close to that).  I'm thinking Thanksgiving and Christmas short stacks can't be far away!  Well Ive  moved on the another Fabulous Fob-Harvest Edition.  Since it's got a Turkey showing it will be perfect for our Thanksgiving display...then perhaps I'll move back to Thankgiving Notes....that's the plan.  Have a great Halloween and I'll be talking to you later.   

Friday, September 28, 2018

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

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


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


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

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

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