Thursday, June 14, 2018

Experiment not going well...

My experiment with starting multiple projects at the same time is not going as well as I had hoped, and yet after Christmas each year when I start my rotation of stitching ( One brand new project, one started project from the past, one class project, one project just for my pleasure)  I can usually keep all the balls (projects) in play, but this time it's been a miserable failure.  The first couple of days went well and I worked on all 4 each day, but the last couple of days I've only worked on the Liberty Tree and the Brenda Gervais Basket of Summertime.  I'm really enjoying those two, and it probably has more to do with wanting a finish, rather than anything else.    I am use to having a finish or two, if  the project is small,  per week, needless to say that isn't going to happen and even though I tell myself I'd have 4 finishes all at once, it doesn't help.  So I shall just work on two at a time to keep my sanity.  This past week has been all about my birthday, with cards and gifts arriving from some wonderful stitchers and gifts not related to stitching which are also gratefully received.  70 is starting off wonderfully and I even have 7 days off work this week to enjoy it all.  Thank you Sara!  So I want to thank everyone again for the lovely stitching, the gift cards to my favorite spots, and the gifts so carefully selected for me, and all the birthday cards and birthday wishes on Facebook.   I love everything and appreciate the thoughtfulness of each and every one of them and you.  I also thought I'd share my stitched gifts with you so you too can enjoy seeing the beautiful stitching and perhaps get some inspiration.

First up is my gift from Stasi Buhrman,  which was presented in a Shepherd's Bush bag which she got when she went to one of their retreats.  She knows how much I have always loved Shepherd's Bush and have been unable to get to their retreat so this was the next best thing....a little piece of the Bush.  On the left is the stitched "Let them eat cake" heart. And then I opened the silver box which had my initials on it and contained a beading kit which was put out by a company many, many and I mean probably over 20 years ago.  I wanted one in the worst way and actually was able to purchase one years ago, felt guilty that I was keeping it so I gifted it to Sara.  So this was such a treat and Stasi had my initials engraved on it ( never thought to do that for Sara-oops)...well this is what happens when you unselfishly pass something on to someone else that  you wanted to keep in the worst way.  Karma baby is not always a bitch.  Anyway, I was praising Stasi for idea of  combining my obsession with royal weddings with my birthday celebration, and then she said, "Well, actually it has nothing to do with the wedding."  I saw the crown on the heart, the tiered cake and the silver box and thought wedding.  If I had looked a little closer or had my glasses on I would have seen the 70 sitting on top of the cake and the crown charm was meant for me being the queen on my birthday (I limited that title to just my birthday although I've always felt I was queen of the shop and hotel.)  Anyway, it was a wonderful start to my birthday celebration and a gift that was so well thought out.  Thank you Stasi for your thoughtfulness and beautiful work.  It now hangs in the stitching display corner cupboard, where my most precious stitching resides.  

The next gift is from Betsy Morgan who  has a class here every year around my birthday (and has always given me such wonderful gifts, even though I never expect it, I'm always delighted.)  This year I especially love it because she combined her stitching with a sweet grass basket which are the baskets the ladies are making when you visit Charleston.  Both my mother,  Sara and I collected these baskets whenever we visited Charleston.  It was always fun to watch the ladies make the basket and then buy it from them.  And then Betsy stitched the beautiful pin cushion you see here.  So this is a double gift....I love a gift within a gift. 

Thank you Betsy.  It holds a place of honor in the stitching cupboard, as well.  So cute!!!  The basket is so adorable because the edge reminds me of the petals of a flower.  Very unique.  

And then at the Betsy Morgan Weekend I was given the following....


 Beautifully stitched by Bernadette Mathews and then signed by attendees of the past couple of classes and retreats..  Honestly it was a bit over whelming to have this presented and it is unthinkable someone would go to the trouble and time it takes to stitch it, have it framed beautifully and then get different event attendees to sign it.    A touching tribute not only to me but the stitchers who come here to take classes, etc.  You all have made having a shop, classes and retreats such a rewarding experience for me, that this piece was the cherry on the sundae.  I love it, will care for it as it hangs in my house and every time I look at it I will be reminded of all the people who have touched my heart.  The needlework community has always been my ray of sunshine, even on the cloudy days.  Thank you Bernadette for such a lovely tribute and also a thank you to all the stitchers who took the time to sign it.  While it won't fit in the cupboard, it will hang beside it.  

Sara usually doesn't have time to stitch, let alone finish, anything for my birthday because she's so busy with event duties, but this year she and Vernon surprised me with this gift.  

This is a Jackie DuPlessis project and includes the scissor fob, needlebook and the bag Sara executed perfectly.  She also included the flower waxer and Vernon added the scissors from France...OMG, you have got to love a son-in-law that knows how important good scissors are.  She presented the entire collection in the box you see with the sailboat which I also loved.  Wow, what a surprise this was.  Thank you Sara and Vernon...I'll treasure it first and when I'm gone you get to treasure it second.  

The next gift I received was not stitched by the giver, Stacy Stinson, but she always finds me the most beautiful handkerchiefs .  I've always loved a handkerchief even though I would never use them to blow my nose, but I occasionally carry one just in case I tear up over something or I perspire and need to dab my forehead a little.  Renee got me started on this habit because she has always carried one and has always used hers the same way.  So when Stacy heard about my obsession (I seem to have a lot of those) she shopped the antique stores for really pretty ones to give me, but I think she has outdone herself this year.  This has to be a bridal handkerchief....it is gorgeous.  Thank you Stacy and I have added it to the cupboard as a decorative piece and I can always lie and say I made it.  Love it!



Debbie surprised me as usual with not only a stitched piece, but she also finished it herself into a bag which I just love.  I'm always fascinated by the finishing people do.  Since I'm not a finisher, however, I do my own finishing now (struggling all the way) I so appreciate when others finish their own projects.  I know how much time and effort goes into it..  And Debbie did not disappoint.  I love the mermaid themed bag and while it is hanging empty at this moment, I plan on stuffing something sea related into it.  I just have to find something appropriate and something that shows off the bag.  
Good job with both finishing and stitching.  
  Thank You Debbie.    



The final show and tell came from Betsy Cole, who attends our retreats and brings me lots of wonderful surprises which I dearly love.  This year it was a Shepherd's Bush piece and she had it framed in a gorgeous violet/purple frame to match the purple in the piece (framed at the Strawberry Sampler) and the frame just highlights the stitched piece.  Betsy did a fabulous job of stitching the friends piece and I have it proudly displayed  as I do all of my stitched pieces, at home. Thank you Betsy, as with all you gifts I love it and appreciate the work and time that went into it.


  I get so excited when I get to bring finished work (all gifts get to come home at once but models stay in the shop until the project is no longer available) home as that doesn't happen often...99 % of my stitching stays in the shop as models or it is gifted to others.  So to bring something home is truly exciting.  So thank you to all the stitchers and friends who sent me gifts, gift cards which will be used you can count on it, and birthday cards.  It is overwhelming to realize how many people remember my birthday and I love it....so Thank you Thank you Thank you.   Have a wonderful weekend and I'll talk to you next week as I have two models finished stitch wise, but the finishing needs to be done...UGH!





Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Summer should be here at any moment.

Memorial Weekend is not only the weekend where our hearts reflect on the many who died fighting so that we can be free, but in summer resorts all over the United States it also signals the beginning of summer, our busiest time of the year.  And Memorial  weekend was all we could hope for.  The temps were in the high 70's to begin, we did have a period of torrential rain and then back to 70's.  Lifeguards are back on duty and the beaches are busy so we are all geared up with Sara placing orders daily.  UGH!  I usually love to see the UPS truck, but at this time of year he unloads too many boxes and they aren't all for Salty Yarns so it's not as much fun for me.  Anyway, I was not on duty that weekend so I was home stitching all day, except on Saturday when Jan and Donna stopped by to say hi.  I was so afraid they had finished their challenge pieces and since I had barely started mine I knew it would drive me crazy, but that is not why they stopped by so that made the visit even sweeter.  (Hate getting behind in stitching challenges).  Anyway, knowing they were coming made me work on one of my challenge pieces and got another piece done so I'm down to only 2 more pieces to do on the one project and of course my ornament is still to be done. I also  kept busy all weekend working on Plum Street's Noah's Christmas Ark ornaments.  It takes about 2 days for each ornament with the exception of the whales and I had a few issues with that so it took a little longer.  But at this point there are three charts packs out and I've finish the first three chart packs and proof is shown below.   I cannot tell you how pleased I was with this series.


 I needed an ornnament tree display that I could hang for the summer and not be too Christmas-y.  This is perfect since I do not think it looks like Christmas at all, with the exception of the snow falling...although I'm not certain that it is snow falling.  One of the giraffe's does have a candy cane in it's mouth and the tree with the doves does appear to be a Christmas tree, but other than that it's not Christmas-y at all.  .  I really do love this series, so much so I've changed very little.  I have used a few  beads for eyes, and satin stitched the red balls on the giraffe piece, but I think that's it. .  I didn't even use the beads on the flowers although I did try but it didn't look right to me.  I took a short cut finishing the pieces into ornaments so I was able to finish 5 one night and the 6th before work.  I used mylar quilting template material for the finishing and double sided tape so I was able to breeze right through it.  It took all the bulk out of the finished product so it was unnecessary to add any type of cording etc.  Finally a fast finish!  Then it was on to new stitching.   I still have the 2nd Laundry Day piece to do as we did get that chart pack from Hands on Designs, but I'm already thinking 4th of July and patriotic pieces. I also got the knitting project done, Guernsey Wrap...whoppee!  I love it.  It's a long piece, 77" long and approx.15" wide but it's beautiful even with the couple of mistakes.  Plus I learned a new technique for taking it off the needles, a long tail and tapestry needle which was confusing me to begin with, but after a few stitches it was simple.  Very elastic so I am thrilled at 70 to learn something new and useful.  Then it was time to move on to new projects.  One of the stitchers at the Betsy Morgan weekend was telling me about a challenge she's involved in where you start a new project every day.  Yes, new project every single day for a year.    I was fascinated with the idea so I went right home and started 4 that I had in my latest to do bag..  One  is the Heritage Sampler from Plum Street, 2nd is Basketful of Summer Time by ,Brenda Gervais, this one I'm doing on 18 ct. linen over 2..fun stitch and the third is the  Little House Needleworks, Keeper of the Pins, and fourth, Liberty Tree from Blackberry Lane.   I also got the challenge piece in the rotation hoping to get this done before October instead of waiting the week before.  Since challenge pieces this year not only have to be stitched, they also have to be finished....yikes!  Anyway, I also pulled out an Erica Michaels piece that I started last year and keep losing.  I figured it I just finished it I wouldn't have to worry about losing it.  I think there is one more started but I can't remember what it is.  Anyway, that's what I'm doing.  We just had our Betsy Morgan weekend and it went really well.  I think everyone took home their thread keeper finished or darn near finished so that was a positive thing.  The weather was alright on Friday and foggy Saturday and rainy on Sunday, but the stitchers were in class all day so they didn't mind.  It was a wonderful group of stitchers so we want to say Thank You to them all for their continued support and a bit Thank You to Betsy Morgan for coming to teach.  But a special Thank You goes to all the stitchers from the retreats who signed the mat on my birthday gift and a huge Thank You to Bernadette who actually stitched it for me.