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)
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!
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 finished....as 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 Jesus...now 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.
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.
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.