Monday, December 28, 2015

I am loving my presents...............stitching ones as well as non-stitching ones.

 Had to show you another gift that arrived on my door for Christmas.  This was from Stasi Buhrman.  She always finds the most fabulous tool cases and in this case a lace and button case.  I wanted to show you what was hanging on the gift cute the little thimble tree...believe me I'm making some of these to put on next years packages.  Will look cute on a tree with my hand stitched ornaments.  As for the case, well I've needed something like this for years.  I purchase lace for a project and can never figure out what I did with it when I need it (I'm obviously lacking in the organizational area).  This case is sitting on my shelf loaded with lace and buttons so when I need lace, I don't have to look through 20 bags praying I find it because it's on my shelves staring at me.  Thanks Stasi, I love it, needed it, and already have it ready for action.  And I love the goodies you put in the pocket.  At first I thought it was buttons only, which was great,  but then I discovered there was more than buttons in there.  Gifts within a gift.  Perfect!  I declare this year's Christmas, The Best Ever!!!  Today it's Monday, 12/28 and the weather has definitely taken a turn.  I'm not complaining considering it was sunny and near 70 on Christmas day as well as the 26, and the 27th.  But to have it back down to the 40's...well I'm cold.  And yet, in a day or so it's going back up to 60 again.  Honestly before this is over we'll all have colds.  But I'm enjoying it so I'll love it while we have it.  I certainly will not complain about weather when ours has been so nice and every  morning I wake up to news of another disaster area due to weather in those areas.  You can't help but think about the folks whose homes were destroyed while you are enjoying a wonderful dinner in a warm house with family and friends.  I've done a lot of praying for those folks and will continue to keep them in my prayers.  Due to the blustery winds and cold temps there are very few people on the boardwalk, but due to the needs of the stitchers, a few have shown up to get supplies, weather will never keep us away from shops selling stitching supplies.  We're grateful to see them too.  I'm getting the itch to stitch, so I'm going to go to the fabric section and see what I can much fun to start something new (like I don't have enough old projects to finish but I need something new I think to get me back into action).  I'm hoping that, as in years past, this year I will start out the new year finishing an unfinished project between each new project.  We'll see  how long that lasts.  Have a great week

What a lovely Christmas I had.....I think

  Had to show you another gift I received this month  all the way from Luxembourg.  Paola sent me another "goodie" for the Roses for Sally box.  It is so elegant and the stitching and finishing is just impeccable. I cannot thank you enough Paola, for such a beautiful pin pillow for my box.  Periodically I sit down with my box and spread the pieces out so I can look at them and play with them a little before putting them all back so very neat and tidy until next visit.  I always loved to play with my dollhouses and needlework smalls have taken their place.  Continually pulling items out, playing with them a little and then rearranging them back in the box.  So much fun!  I feel so fortunate to have such wonderful stitching friends who shower me with such beautiful treasures.  Thank you so much Paola, this will be cherished by me and when I'm gone Sara will lovingly take it and cherish it as well.  It is such a comfort to know that my treasures will live on once I'm gone and not end up at a yard sale.  (that would be enough to make me rise from the dead)  I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as mine was.  I happen to fall ill on Monday preceding Christmas and each day ended up doing nothing but sitting on the sofa feeling sorry for myself.  I didn't even stitch (that shows how sick I was).  Each day hoping I would pull myself together and get busy getting my work done, and each day just laying there saying "tomorrow, I'll get things done tomorrow."  By the 23rd I was thinking I wasn't going to be able to pull it together and each of the girls after coming over, looked around, and said, "At least let me help you clean up the house."  There were at least 15 bags of groceries sitting on the kitchen floor (at least I did get the stuff in the refrig and freezer so that much was done).  I did manage to shampoo the living room carpet (and announced that would be the last time I ever did that-in fact, it was exhausting.)  But I woke up on the 24th, bright and early around 5:30 a.m. and said "it is now time to do or die trying."  Since I felt a little better, I started right away hoping I could get most of it done.  With each item checked as done, pickled beets, spiced peaches, cinnamon rolls, turkey prepped and ready, sauerkraut ready, candied sweet potatoes ready to go, cheesecake finished, apple pie finished, Jello Smetna mold done, mac & cheese for the kids ready, I started feeling like I might actually accomplish this.  Mary showed up and said, "at least can I help with the front porch" but no that wasn't going to happen either...I was on it.  I realized I would need to go out to the grocery store one more time and Michael decided to come over so off we went.  After returning back home Michael decided to put his feet up and take a nap on the sofa.  Unfortunately I sat down to regroup and woke up a couple of hours later.  Uh, Oh, I didn't have that kind of time.  So while I was feeling a little panic, thankfully Sara went to the church after the 5:00 service and got things ready for Christmas Day services so I could continue working at home.  I was feeling like I was going to really pull it off and thought at 1:30 a.m. that I would just sit and take a breather.  Well, that didn't help because that breather lasted until 5:30 a.m.  Oh, no Christmas day and I'm still working on getting ready.  So I got the sauerkraut into the crockpot, make the stuffing and got the bird stuffed and in the oven.  I was panicing because the kids showed up two years ago around 10:00 a.m. and that screwed me up completely.  Everyone comes to my house at dinner time and we eat and exchange gifts then.  But Solomon was hoping someone got him a computer two years ago and when he didn't get one upstairs he came down to see if he got one from me (which of course he did) but that has meant my house is next in line if something is missing from upstairs.  I had everything done but the  gravy and the 2 vegetable sides so I started finishing the pick up of the house, wrapping a few gifts I found and hadn't done yet and I heard the door open around 9:30 a.m. and just about screamed when I saw Mary and said, "OMG, are the kids here already?"  But the surprise was mine, she made a stuffed French toast (cream cheese and strawberries-yummo) with bacon and sausage and brought me a plate.  The kids were still upstairs.  Win Win.  It was so good and gave me the super charge I needed.  Mary refused to let the kids come down and I finally called upstairs around 1:30 to see what was happening.  She was shocked when she came down and everything was picked up, gifts wrapped and in place, table set, food cooking and I was still sane.  Sara kept texting since she is usually my first call when I am in the weeds. (this is why we live so close to our children isn't get help)  Anyway, each text from her was answered with "I'm fine, it's all good, and I've got this."  I've decided that on my gravestone it should be chiseled, "She thought she had it."  Around the 3:00 text I said, "Well, the kids are here, everything is done except the green beans with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette, and the asparagus has to be roasted and hollandaise sauce made, and the gravy.  Perhaps if you could come a little early it would be good.  She runs down in her P.J.'s and takes over the kitchen (thank God) and starts the vegetables and getting the gravy done.  The only thing I actually did after that was the hollandaise sauce so as usual, Sara ended up finishing up the Christmas dinner with just one thing to say, "Mom next year we're doing this at my house."  It's always the damn vegetables and gravy that I poop out on....but hopefully next year is a whole other story.  I swear I can do this with no's hoping 2016 finds me in good health and able to let Sara stay home until dinner time.  (although I think it would kill her to see me complete the dinner without her help)  Both girls went overboard with gifts, which is typical and I got lots of goodies so Santa was definitely good to me.  When the night was finally over and everyone left, it felt so good to lay down and just relax and know that I survived another Christmas.  The 26th we always redo the Christmas dinner to get rid of as much of the left overs as possible.  During the day Brian came down to hook up the Roku system he and Mary gave me and I decided I was going to make French fries with my new big fryer for the kids (and me).  I had extra potatoes and decided to cut them fresh since I didn't have any frozen and it's so easy why not.  I had everything heating and was in control, although Brian stayed to help with the French fries since he is one of the chefs at the Hilton and has worked with a fryer.  When all was said and done we were down 3 people, Vernon and Michael went to Cabela's for their after Christmas sale (really, after all you got and you still needed to get more) and Solomon spent the 26th at the skatepark and then wanted to go home with a friend.  But as I said, well more French fries for us.  After dinner was over and everyone had gone, I Roku'd myself to sleep as I watched "Vicious"  so witty and fun to watch.  And today, we're back at work.  The weather is gorgeous, oh, yes, in fact I was so hot on Christmas Day we opened the windows and I slept that night with the windows still open, in DECEMBER I slept with the windows open.  Can you believe this?  Sunny and 70's, I thought it was summer.  In fact, I've pulled some of my summer tops out to wear.  Today people are riding bikes on the boardwalk in shorts and sandals.  Mercy, we are so fortunate.  I see the news and the horrible weather situations and think I'm blessed to live here.  This sure makes up for the month of June when the Graduating class of 2015 was in town...I'd rather live at the dump than put up with that.  The only thing that went wrong for me this year is that I didn't pick up my needle for almost a week.  Not one stitch until last night. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

OMG, it's almost here!

This was my gift from Linda Wimbrow....I couldn't show it earlier because I struggled to remember who the designer was.  But I finally came across it, the designer comes from Priscilla's Pocket and the chart is called Stoneware Pin Pillows.  As if one wasn't present enough, I couldn't believe it when I opened this gift and there were 5 plus a beautifully stained tray to sit them in.  Thank you Linda, it is fabulous.  The finishing was done beautifully and I love the pom-pom edging used.  My favorite color has always been blue so this really was perfect for me.   I feel like I've already had my Christmas, with these beautiful gifts, but then I received 2 gifts from friends which I will show before Christmas so stay tuned.  I've been incredibly busy getting ready for the big day....baking, cleaning, yes I'm going to be exhausted before Friday arrives, but hopefully I'll get it all done.  If you came into my house right now you'd say "no way" but I work best under pressure so I'm still in that place where I still think I can pull it all together.  All gifts, so far, are wrapped and ready to go, but as it turns out I'm still not done buying.  I find after everything is wrapped that a few more gifts are needed for one of the grandchildren.  So I'll be hitting the stores again, ugh!  But I did start my Christmas baking.  This is new for me  really, I always say I'm going to bake cookies, but after buying all the ingredients I never get to it.  So this year I started with a cookie a day and so I'm thrilled that I will actually have a cookie tray this year.  While I really have never needed one with the desserts I make I just always wanted to have one.  My mother use to do about 30-40 different kinds of cookies every year.  She would tin them up and give them to her friends, but we always had a tray at home.  I guess I am becoming my mother after all.  I certainly missed her neat gene though.  Honestly I don't care how many times a day I pick up and clean up it's still a red hot mess here.  But today is the day.  I've got the dining room torn apart and ready to be vacuumed, dusted and table set.  Whohoo, I'm on the way.  I'm going to be so exhausted by the time Christmas gets here I'll need a week off. But my house will be clean and it will be so worth it.  But I'm sure I can get back to a mess in no time at all.  Hope you are ready to celebrate.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

12 days and counting....oh no, I'm never going to be ready...I'm still stitching!

Obviously I should have taken a better picture, but I think you can see the beauty in this beautiful santa stitched on 40 ct. by Judy Brunclik and and given to me for Christmas at our Stitch 'n Bitch dinner.  She found the red tart pan to use in her finishing and I was shocked to find out they sell these since I thought Judy had painted it.  .  I've never seen tart pans in colors...but it's a good idea now that stitchers have found a use for the tart pans.    There are so many things to look at in this Santa, a sleigh, stars, trees, holly leaves, oh my, there is a lot packed into this design and I love it.  Incidentally, it's one of JBW's designs.  Thank you Judy for taking time out of a tough month for you to stitch something for me.  It will  always hold a special place in my heart.  When I woke up this morning I decided to pull what was had been a difficult finish for me out of my stitching bag and just get on with it.  I haven't stitched for 2 days (what????) because I just couldn't face this piece.  But this morning I knew I just couldn't ignore it any longer since it was already late.  The most amazing thing happened.  After spending 2 days this past week stitching and then taking it apart twice, I just started the finishing and before I knew it the first part was done.  Now I just have to attach the bottom and in the box and to the post office it goes.  I really don't know what was wrong before.  I was having the most difficult time with this.  And yet, this morning it just worked.  Every once in a while this happens to me.  I struggle to comprehend what I'm suppose to do, or I just can't seem to get things to work out correctly and then after a couple of days of not even looking at just seems to work out with no effort.  So today I'll be back on the stitching train, thank God.  I miss stitching so much when I don't do it.  I also tend to eat more....and we all know that's not a good thing.  Today will be a fabulous day for me as I happily stitch along.    Hope you have a great day as you enjoy  our last sunny and warm day in a while.  It's been so gorgeous down here, yesterday I had people come in wearing flip flops and shorts.  Ahhh, a little bit of Florida weather.  But we all know that this will be ending soon so I'm really enjoying it while it's here.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

13 Days and counting....if you aren't done stitching your gifts by now you may be too late!

I loved this when I saw it and didn't even know what was inside.  Jennifer Humphries stitched this little pin cushion inside the votive holder (this is actually a candle holder).  The lid is removeable and it's so dear you know I was on the internet trying to find this little tea pot the day after the dinner.  It kills me to tell you I was unable to find one this cute...and I refuse to settle for less so the hunt goes on.  But as with Candi's gift yesterday, this could not only be a pin cushion (notice the bottom if you can see it, Jen filled the votive holder with green beads and put the pin cushion on top so you don't see the bottom of the pin cushion at all) but if you just take the pin cushion out of the teapot, the teapot can be an ort collector.  Oh, my, God....this is so exciting to me.  I keep a little bowl beside me to collect my threads.  Debbie Liming changes her stitching bag, scissor fob, and anything else in her bag with the seasons and I always thought that was so wonderful as it gives you an opportunity to use a lot of the many gifts and also things you stitched for yourself. . So now I try to remember to switch totes, etc. with holidays and seasons.  My Halloween ort dish was still out though until it was put away the other night when Hedy gave me a beautiful square Polish Pottery bowl just right for an ort collector at the Stitch 'n Bitch dinner.  I'm a Polish pottery collector and Hedy always finds me the most unique pieces, things I've never seen anywhere so I'm always thrilled to see Hedy at Christmas.  I just know she's found another gem for me.  The minute I got home I got rid of Halloween and now have my Polishware out.  (a little late, I have nothing for November, although my new bowl is I'm ready for next November.)  Candi's set, which I showed yesterday,  will be perfect for snowy January and then my teapot will come into play in February.  What fun I'm going to have switching my different pieces out.  It's this kind of entertainment I love...trying to figure out what I can switch out so I can have a different view.  Yes, just a glimpse into the excitement of my life.  Oh, well, it suits me fine.  So this is it for today.  Again, while Sara is lounging on the beaches of Jamaica I'm toiling away in the shop and since it's close to 70 degrees on the boardwalk I'm kind of busy.  Sara will be thrilled until all the screw ups I've had...oops sorry about that.  Apparently I've been away from this for too long.  Have a great night and I'll have something else to show you tomorrow.

Friday, December 11, 2015

14 days and counting...................I'm so fun has already begun!

Stitch 'n Bitch Christmas Dinner was held on Monday night and while we were down one person, Debbie Liming ran into car issues, it was still a wonderful start to our holiday festivities.  And of course goodie bags flowed as did gifts.  I don't partake in the secret santa because I have so much stitching to do anyway, but these ladies always bring me Christmas presents which I love and just between you and me, I look forward to them.  But I did get to see the secret santa gifts and it's amazing the work these women do for each other.  Shows what a wonderful group we have.  So I want to share my stitched gifts because of the fabulous ideas and so you can see how others are finishing projects which is always so inspirational, and I'm going to only show one per day so you can really focus on each one.  Todays gift was from Candi,  who stitched a Shepherd's Bush scissor fob and purchased the box and other container at Hobby Lobby and turned them into a fabulous set for my sewing table.  The first picture shows the front  of a handled mini tote and the closed Ort box and the 2nd picture shows the back of the tote and the open ort container.  She painted both pieces, along with putting Ort on the circular piece.  There is a handle you can't see in the box.  But so cute, don't you think?  Now, of course it makes you think about what you could do as well.  I love the idea of attaching a stitched Shepherd's Bush fob to the handled box...I love stitching their fobs so this is a wonderful idea.  I mean you can stick pencils in there, scissors, rulers, well anything you need beside your stitching chair and then you have your Ort container for your cut threads.  How organized am I going to be.  In looking at the ort container, I noticed the lid was recessed which means you could make this into a pin cushion and still close the lid.  Oh,my goodness...the ideas are endless aren't they?  And you could stitch a band to go around it....oh my goodness my mind is just clicking along.  Thank you Candi....I love it!  I decided to use all my gifts in my Christmas decorating so I haven't put it in use as a sewing companion, but as soon as the decorations are put away they will go on the table beside my stitching seat.  Next time I'm in Hobby Lobby I'm going to scope out the wood section again.  I do it everytime I'm in there, but I don't remember ever seeing the ort container.  Perhaps I simply overlooked it.. 


Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas may be near, but we had Stitchin' Witches on our mind.

Had to show you Vera Mean's "show and tell" from this weekend.  This  was a Tangles retreat weekend which started with the first attendees arriving on Thursday.  This is not one of our sponsored retreats but the Tangles themselves schedule 2 retreats a year and this year they added a third, this one in December, which is perfect because we have time at this point to really focus on them.  Vera Means always brings in some show and tell to show me.  For those who are unfamiliar with the design, it's a Victoria Sampler design, "Stitchin' Witches!"  I've always loved Thea Dueck's designs for the detail she includes and she did a fabulous job on adding wonderful details, especially to the dividing bands.  I loved the spider webs you see under the first scene, and the lace on the bottom band is so striking.  But her scenes are also beautiful because of the detail.  Her attention to detail and the way she shows it is what makes all the difference.  Her trees are delicate, but still show that ominous feeling you want in Halloween pieces. Bats are usually done a little oversized in stitching, but Thea does a small bat which is so fitting with the design and I also love that each panel has the witches doing hand work, although the middle witch is actually trying to get her silk thread back from the crow so she can continue stitching.  But the best designs have to be stitched well and Vera rose to the occasion.  While I loved the design when it came in, this weekend it went into the stash bag and hopefully I will have it on our walls by next Halloween.  (I can't seem to stitch on Halloween at Christmas so it's got to wait until summer for me to get to it).  Right now I'm still on Christmas gifts.  Tonight is our Stitch 'n Bitch dinner so I will have the gifts bagged and tagged and tomorrow I can work on getting Renee's and Pat's together, and perhaps a little something for Sara.  Anyway, hope your stitching is coming along well and you will get what you need finished done in time.  It's often a struggle but just keep at it.  And a big "Thank You" to all the ladies in the Tangles group for coming by and shopping and a big "Thank You" to Vera for bringing the Stitchin' Witches in.  You did a gorgeous job on the stitching and the framing was perfect.