Well another beautiful day in the neighborhood. Temperature is closing in on 60 today so people are out and about and we have visitors in town for New Year's Eve so we were really busy yesterday which I didn't expect. I'm still recooperating from Christmas lack of sleep, etc., so I was thrilled when 4 p.m. hit and I was able to go home where I had plans to take a nap before hopefully getting back to my needlework which has just been sitting in my tote for almost a month. I'm having serious withdrawal symptoms. Anyway, as I'm putting the scooter away (that's how nice it is I'm still riding myscooter to work), Mary stopped me and said, Izi was hoping he could come down but if I wasn't up to it she'd tell him he can't. Now you grandmothers know that when a grandchild wants to come we try to buck up no matter how tired and say, "Oh, I'd be thrilled to see him. Absolutely tell him to come down." Sara who arrived before Izi to finish the Death by Chocolate cake that I started 4ays ago for Christmas Day (that's a whole other story), said "why didn't tell him you were tired." Can't wait for her to become a grandmother. Yes I know Vernon's daughter has 2 sons which Sara regards as her grandchildren, they aren't Michaels. That's when she will know the grandmothers creed..."no matter what obstacles you are facing when grandchildren want to come to your house, everything waits until they go back home again." Thankfully around 6 p.m Mary called Izi home for dinner so I was able to get a nap in. But when I woke up I still didn't even pull my stitching out of the tote. Oh well, today might just be the day. I feel so guilty anyway because I didn't get a Christmas gift done for Sara. Mary doesn't stitch and really doesn't seem to care if she gets no stitching,, although she loved the Shepherd's Bush stockings, but I have a few things that I think she might like, but Sara likes everything and I have about 5 projects already stitched just not finished. That's my resolution for the new year, Sara gets a stitched and finished needlework gift for every occasion. Now let's just see if I'm able to keep that up. Let's see, first occasion Valentine's Day. I have just the perfect piece and I've already finished one piece os it and I don't even think it will be that difficult. But starting January 1st, I also have to start working on the challenge piece again because this year is the show up with it completed or be prepared to pay $25.00, and you know I can't have that. But I've seen such wonderful projects I want to stitch from a variety of designers but I have to get my mojo back. I've seen pictures from several people regarding Christmas so I think most of you had a festive time and we were no different. We always gather as a family at my apartment simply because I don't want to leave on Christmas Day. This year we had all grown kids return for the day (Michael, Liz (Michaels girlfriend), Jake (the young man who moved in with Sara and Vernon in high school who has since moved in October closer to his work)and Christopher, Brian's son, come to celebrate with us so that's always a good thing. In all there were 12 of us. For me there is a lot of memo's about food, etc., menues, shopping, etc. I also made a schedule when food needed to be started, which day prior to the day as well as oven temps, and time. Yes I was organized to a T, which is why I was so shocked when it all went to hell in a handbasket. I started Monday making the Cheesecake and Hershey Chocolate Pie as well as the vegetable cheesecake appetizer (which I had last year and Jake loved it so much he requested it again this year.) I had the candied sweet potatoes, sweet pickled peaches and pickled beets readyon Monday...Yes, I was going to make it (which should have been my clue that it wasn't going to happen.) My surprise for dessert was going to be a dessert called "Death by Chocolate." Many of you probably ate at the Trellis in Williamsburg and it was a headlining dessert there and lucily they did a cookbnook which I purchased. I've done the cake before and it was a hit, but a whole lot of work, but with 42 oz. of chocolate in it how could you not have it. So can be made in one day if you want to start at about 1 a.m., but even they suggest you do the layers over a 3 day period. Knowing meringue has to be made early on and during dry weather I made my chocolate meringue on Monday and it was beautiful when it came out of the over. The rest, chocolate mousse, Mocha chocolate mousse, brownie and ganuche I figured were the easy parts. The appetisers I was leaving until the last minute, after all the vegetable cheesecake was already done. The others were a Brie in puff pastry, baked onion dip, and little pizza's for the kids. Tuesday turned out to be my waterloo. I just couldn't get my S*#$ together, so while I got the house picked up that was about it. So Christmas morning my hit the floor and they never stopped moving and I was getting things done, but by the time Sara arrived in the afternoon to help I was a wreck, so she took the wheel and she decided the Death by Chocolate wasn't going to happen, nor were any of the other appetizers. So she decided we would stick with the Turkey, stuffing, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, Green bean casserole, roasted asparagus (I had planned on Hollandaise sauce- she said screw that), my cinnamon dinner rolls (which Solomon loves) so I made those, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and then the items I had already finished. I got over what didn't get done, like the Death by Chocolate, but decided that would become part of our do-over dinner on the 26th. (Family tradition is that we gather on the 26th and eat as much of the left overs as possible.) I always think it would be nice if I make some new stuff for that dinner, so I just satisfied myself that I would bake the brie, make the baked onion dip and the cake for it. Sara again arrived at my house in the afternoon to find me in the kitchen covered in chocolate, and furiously making mousse. I had the turkey done (I ordered a turkey and a turkey brest for Christmas and got 2 turkeys instead) the rest of the things hadn't left the refrigerator yet and I was working on the cake. So Sara put an apron on and she said what's left. So she worked on the mocha mousse and the gaunauche and then I read the sentance that just put a dagger through my heart, why the hell didn't I remember this from 30 years ago.....cake has to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours but preferably 12. I was discusted and said the hell with it, let's just work on the appetizers and forget this. But she said no we're going to finish the next layers and then we will assemble it and we'll have it on Saturday. I said, I hade no intention of doing a do-over on the do-over but she said she'd come over after work on Friday help finish assembling and then each family could take some. And she said the hell with the appetizers. The only thing I insisted on finishing was the Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets which I was in the process of finishing. It had been marinating all day. My Izi doesn't eat very much but he loves the nuggets and chick fil a. I had the dry mix already together so it was a matter of draining the nuggets, covering them with the dry mix and frying them. Vernon arrived and Sara put him in charge of that. So even though we had caos in the kitchen, and Jake and Christopher didn't show up the rest were here and dinner was wonderful. Izi said the nuggets didn't taste exactly like chick fil a but he thought they were very good. Apparently others were curious because Sara, Vernon, Michael and Mary said they tried them and thought they were good. So Izi at what the others didn't so I considered it a success but am going to try another receipe next time. After work on Friday Sara shows up to finish the Death by Chocolate which at this point I was truly over and didn't give a damn if it ever got done. I'm thrilled to say it got done and today I brought turkey sandwiches, chips and Death by Chocolate to work for everyone.
Year of Celebration-December is done. While the stitching was completed last night, I did the finishing this morning. So today I celebrate as I have finished the 12 part series, a first for me, and the final sample for the shop for 2019, or is it? Well, at least in my mind I can concentrate on Christmas. December was stitched on 38 ct. PTP Doubloon. I did substitute on this one. I used the Liberty as charted and Envy as charted but I changed the lettering to Onyx and the gold to Whiskey both by Weeks Dye Works. The bells I attached in place of the stitched bells (you know I have to have dimension of some kind on almost every project. Then the package was also changed to one color and the ribbon is a 1/16" white ribbon as is the bow. I think the rest was done as charted. Then I finished it using Christmas plaid scrapbook paper with a red ribbon hanger, and #321 DMC pearl cotton cording. Thank you Cathy for such a fun series. While finishing always challenges me, when I work on a series it gets easier and easier as I progress through another attempt at finishing a stitched piece, so by the time the 12th month was done the finishing was a breeze...or almost a breeze. But as with the Apothecary Series-9th one, the 12th one on Year of Celebration became a challenge to stitch. I made several mistakes on each, or I didn't like a color after stitching it so decided to take it out and replace it, so they both took longer than they should. But I was determined in both cases to get them done and I'm so glad I did.
Hopefully, everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with family, friends and great things to eat. I know I did. I had 2 Thanksgiving dinners, first with Sara's family on Thursday (Mary and her family were in Baltimore with Brian's family), and then we repeated the dinner on Saturday with Mary and her family. So needless to say, I've been stuffed all weekend. And of course, Friday marked my return to the working world. It was beautiful weather here in O.C., sunny skies and temperatures in the high to mid-'40s. So plenty of visitors in town and we got a share of those in the shop. Saturday we got a visit from our Stacy Stinson who stopped by to pick up a couple of models she lets us use every year and then picks them up to display at her house for Christmas and then brings them back after Christmas. Thanks, Stacy, we appreciate it. She was also picking up supplies for some new pieces, and I got a sneak peek. So that was exciting as I love to see what people have done, are doing, or thinking about doing. She picked up a sled at Hobby Lobby last year that is going to be so cute with a Heart in Hand Santa on it. Got me thinking I've got to get a sled as well. A great display piece. She came at a good time as I needed a bit of inspiration. Because I spent 2 days cooking for Thanksgiving and then the exhaustion from 2 days of cooking, I barely touched my stitching. But now I think it's the piece I'm working on that is causing the delay. It's my final Year of Celebration piece-December, which should have been an easy 2-day stitch and it's still not done 5 days after first starting it. I didn't have one of the colors so I substituted, which I do a lot with no problem, but when I got in the shop on Friday I pulled the missing color, liked it better than the color I used, so of course, I ripped out the old color and put in the new. That's sort of how this piece is going. It's really frustrating because it should be in the shop today, but it's not done. However, because it's raining Sara told me to stay home so today is the day I'm going to finish the stitching and finishing so I can take it with me tomorrow when I go to work. Then I can move forward with something new. The one problem I've dealt with all weekend was my cell phone died, and I do mean died Friday morning. I've had issues with the battery for some months, but as long as it was plugged in it was fine, so I just made sure it was always plugged in. I was due for an upgrade 2 years ago and didn't do it, so I knew it was on borrowed time so I figured I'd get one the next time I was in Salisbury. I didn't make it to Salisbury in time. This had me panicking starting Friday over my lack of phone since I don't have a landline. And to be honest, while I hate phones generally, I use mine to keep notes, to let me know the time, weather, etc., to say nothing of communication with family and friends, so losing the use of it was distracting. Plus it disconnected me from the girls...which I panic over. In fact, Mary came down and checked to see if the phone was backed up in the cloud and I ordered a new phone while she was here and it will be delivered on Monday....so one more day and I'm back to being connected...Thank God! I'll be thankful for that. Anyway, aside from my phone issue, we had a great weekend in the shop. I did my usual work on the website between customers and in adding product to the web site I was able to snatch a couple of charts without Sara realizing I was doing it...yea!!! Always fun to add stash to an already exploding at home stash. I know no bounds when it comes to that. So I feel good about my working, as I didn't just sit there like a lump. I would take my stitching out each day and it would just sit there until I put it back in the tote to take it home each day. It was also good to get back in the stores, even though they have moved everything around so I can't find a thing which makes me feel and look uninformed but I'm starting to get use to that feeling already. Thankfully I'm usually in Sea Trader so that makes it easier on me. My opening line after Hello, is "I normally don't work in this shop so you'll have to excuse me if I have to go find an answer to your question." Fair warning is always a good thing. Well, I'm going to get back to my stitching and hopefully have a finish to show you tomorrow. Have a great night and I hope you have managed to put your needle into action. Talk to you tomorrow with a finished project...fingers crossed.
Well, this certainly took a lot longer than necessary. I should have stitched it on 40 ct. like the other series of Brendas that were shown on the top of the same paper mache box, but of course, I just had to wing it. Never wing it....a lot more work and mistakes go into winging it. In trying to get the same elements in this piece I moved elements around a little and I forgot about the snowflakes. Fortunately, I think it's alright, I did stitch extra deer and left off one large snowflake, but the important thing is...it's finished. I stitched it on 36 ct. PTP linen, and used the recommended threads. And, of course, attached it to the approx. 3" x 5" paper mache box. I painted the box black first and then covered it with the Christmas plaid scrapbook paper, after which I glued the stitched piece to the top and box finished.
Now on to cooking for Thanksgiving. We do Thanksgiving at Sara's house and Christmas at my house, but I like to pitch in with the cooking for Thanksgiving just to lighten Sara's load. Therefore my mission for the next 3 days is grocery shopping and cooking. Today I start with the cookies, since I have those ingredients. Not much stitching will be going on here for the next 4 days...UGH! On the plus side, there will be food. Not sure I'll get back to blog again before Thanksgiving so I want to wish everyone a really wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with friends, family, food and a little stitching should you be able to fit it in. If you are traveling, be careful so that you reach your destination safely. If you come to Ocean City, I hope we will see you in Salty Yarns. We will be here each day, Friday thru Monday from 10-4 p.m.
WTH...I've been thinking Santa's Tree Farm wouldn't fit on the paper mache box, but kept putting the box lid on top and it seemed like it might until tonight. I got the Santa done and everything to the right of him, and I can see that the 2 trees to the left as well as the 2 reindeer won't fit. Crap! After damning myself for not paying attention to my inner voice, I checked to see what I could do to still use the piece. I first thought I'd just purchase a bigger oval box, but after the panic eased I realized I could still use the same box, just by adding the reindeer into the already completed right side where there are spaces large enough to do it and I could even add a small tree I think. First I'm going with that plan and if that doesn't work I can always put it in a tray or purchase a larger oval box. I hate it when a plan doesn't come together. On the brighter side, Sara stopped by yesterday afternoon to bring her shopping from the Attic as well as her Merry Cox class pieces and charts so I could drool over it. (She spent last week in Arizona and attending 3 classes at the Attic.) And included with that was a gift for me....
I love her. I can't wait to dress her....got a few thoughts running around my head, especially after seeing Jackie DuPlessis' peddler doll. She was a real distraction for me last night as I tackled Santa's Tree Farm, but today I'm calmer and ready to get back to the work at hand. But Thank You, Sara, for thinking of me and especially bringing me the Merry Cox doll. But after Christmas, I might just get on this. Meanwhile, Sara had to purchase a small piece of luggage in Arizona because she didn't have enough room in her suitcase for all the stash she purchased and her class stash. She is going to be really busy trying to get all her purchases done....in fact I'll bet some of it never sees the light of day again, but she was thrilled and she purchased some lovely sampler patterns from The Attic that will be treasured if she can get to them. If she can't she's got more stash to look at and enjoy. And she was inspired by Jean from The Attic to purchase and start stitching on the higher count linens, so she brought back several of those..on my, 46 and above....I can't see it let alone stitch it. Oh, how I wish I had access to those back in the day. Anyway, I'd say Sara's week in Arizona was a trip that will live on in her memory bank as one of the best week's she's ever had. But I'm glad to have her home. I really don't sleep well when my children aren't at home each night. Although last night everyone was at home and I woke myself up from a dead sleep as my heart was pounding and racing so much it sounded like someone was hammering. When I got up and did some deep breathing to calm my heart down and get it back into a normal rhythum, I realized the hammering I heard was my heart, so of course, I was up for the rest of the night thinking about that. Like I have time for that. I have stitching which needs to get done. So I'm going to get back to it....hope you are finding time to get some stitching done as well. Have a great weekend.
Monday I worked in Salty Yarn...well working is an activity I did very little of and shopping for my personal stash is much more accurate. Anyway, as I was grabbing as much as I could, without Sara's eyeball following me around and the constant nagging, "like you don't have enough already, or did you take it out of inventory, or worse, please don't take that as we only have a couple left in stock." Yes, there was no one to monitor me and I shopped, stole, call it whatever you want but I did it all day, charts, fabric, fibers, yes I was drunk on stitching supplies. One of the things I snagged was a round box for my Brenda Gervais, Holiday Hoopla-Christmas.
I love these Hoopla's and yet have not used a hoop for framing yet. These boxes come in three different colors, Antique White, Black, and a Pecan color. They were originally for many of the Shepherd's Bush round designs from a few years ago. I stitched about 6 of those...loved it and the finish was fast so these are "go-to's" for me when it's a 3" round piece. I opted for the white because I was thinking snow, but seeing now I think I'm going to switch it out for either black or pecan or maybe not. I'll try all three and see which is better, or perhaps I'll find the pedestal frame during the Great clean up of 2019. I stitched this on 32 ct. Vintage Blue Whisper linen. I did use Mill Hill black beads for his eyes, buttons, and mouth. It's the perfect color for snowmen even though it doesn't pop as much as I'd like in the picture, it does look better in person. Anyway, I'm pleased to have it finished and now it's ready to go to the shop. I used the recommended threads, almost..I didn't have the Ruby Slipper so I substituted GA Schoolhouse Red. But in my binge yesterday I picked up a skein, or two, of Ruby Slipper and it is very similar to the Schoolhouse Red. So now I'm moving on and have been working on another Brenda Gervais, "Santa's Tree Farm." I already know how I'm going to finish this (half the problem with finishing is not knowing what to do with a piece), so I should have rushed through this, but I didn't have a couple of the recommended floss colors so I dragged my feet. I don't have a problem substituting fibers if I don't have the ones called for, but in this case, I was having an issue with the greens. So yesterday in my burglary of Salty Yarns I got the correct greens so I'm back in business. I'm on my second go-round with this as I started stitching it over 1 on 36 ct thinking it would fit on the 3 x 5 papier mache box. But I had trouble stitching one of the elements as I couldn't get it to look right so I re-examined the chart and discovered I should have been stitching over 2...darn it. So I started it again and of course, it's going much faster so I should have it done by the weekend...yea! It looks so much bigger than the box lid, but I keep measuring it and I think it's going to fit....I'm making sure it does cause I'm not starting over. As I said earlier, with Sara gone I was called into work. Meanwhile, Vickie was working Sea Trader and informed me about what a great weekend they had and they had several stitchers come from out of town. I was shocked because the weather was not great and I had given some thought to closing. Thank God I didn't. Monday was cloudy at times but the temperature was in the high 40's, but we barely saw anyone, hence my shopping extravaganza. While I would have loved to see stitchers, imagine being alone in a needlework store for 6 hours and being told you can grab as much as you want before going home. Needlework is my drug of choice and I love to binge on it. Yes, there are moments I wonder what the hell I was thinking when I look at some of what I grabbed days later, but at that moment I was flying high. I was like a kid in a candy store. I'm proud to say at the end of the day I did relinquish a couple of patterns and put them back (but only because I think I took them home once before.) So I'm stitching like crazy, cleaning not like crazy but trying to set goals each day and see progress being made. Must get back to my stitching. Have a great day and I hope you find time to stitch.
I keep thinking it's only November, haven't had Thanksgiving yet so I shouldn't panic over Christmas yet. But, I can feel that I'm getting nervous about it. As I said before, I've begun the clean up of the house, my recipes are sitting on the table waiting to become dinner (over a month away-this should be fine, and I'm excited. But I always get nervous about the stitching I need to get done. So that's the panic I'm feeling, plus I'm going back to work 4 days a week and that gives me less time at home working on stuff. But, today was a good day. This week I completed the stitching on a couple of pieces, Erica Michael's "St. Nick's Berry", and Brenda Gervias, "Holiday Hoopla-Christmas". At first, I brought home the linen berry but decided I really wanted the detail shown on the silk berry so I took back the linen and brought home the silk. Then I decided I didn't have the patience right now to do the gauze berry, so I changed the project to 28 ct linen, (this way I don't have to stitch the background like you do on silk gauze), and I still have all the detail that is on the silk version of these berries, and stitching over 1 on 28 ct. still keeps it smaller than the linen. The stitching went smoothly, once I figured out where to start on the linen, and although I usually change things a bit on projects, I tried to stay with Linda's vision. I almost made it too, but in the end, I decided to add some dimension by satin stitching the hat cuff and the beard. The mustache was done laying threads across his mouth (which I added by just putting a line of red between the beard and mustache), and securing them in the center and then clipping the two ends of the mustache until they were sized correctly for his face. Other than that, I added beads for the holly berries to each set of holly leaves. That was all I did. This design is fabulous. I love Linda's berries and have almost all of them in my stash. And now that I've decided to use 28 ct. for some of them, I'll be able to get a few of these done now. I still struggle with the finishing of the berries, but with all of the finishing I do now each year I'm getting much better so I just grit my teeth and pray for the best. Today was no different. I started first thing this morning getting my finishing supplies together. I interfaced the berry, as I use lizard litter for stuffing, and then stitched up the back seam (easiest part to do). It's nice to have the easy part to get you started and then on to the stuffing and gathering of the top...also pretty easy. In fact, I think the hardest part is just getting started and figuring out how to finish the top. Linda does hers differently depending on the project, so I tend to do the same thing. However, as it's a strawberry, I only finish with leaves. This time I started with a circle cut of WDW wool to put over the top to cover the gathered top. Then I cut leaves to use, this time I decided to use the shape of the holly leaf. I then attached the holly leaves to the red circle, which covered it and then cut a small red circle which I sewed to the center to cover where the leaves come together. Finally, while initially, I had planned on using a fancy bead I purchased for this project, it just didn't work for me. Too fancy for this piece. Soooo, I got one of the bead caps I keep on hand, ran pearl cotton through for a hanger, sewed the bead cap to the center red wool circle and the ornament is now finished. Fabulous. You will see on the picture I stuck a red pin through each leaf...I'm trying to train the wool to sit a certain way. Hope you enjoy my finish. I recommend everyone who hasn't done a berry...try one. And they really aren't that hard to put together either.
I also finished Brenda Gervais', Holiday Hoopla-Christmas, however, I can't find what I did with the pedestal frame so I can't complete the finish until I find it or chose another way to finish it. Again I stuck with Brenda's recommendations, although linen was Vintage Blue Whisper and I added red berries to the holly leaf branch and black beads for eyes, teeth, and buttons. Easy stitch so a delight to do. I've only missed one Holiday Hoopla and that's Thanksgiving. Sara didn't bring it to me so I'm hoping to remember it tomorrow as I work in the shop. Exciting!
Anyway, that's what I've been up to since I last blogged. I hope you have been able to put a needle in linen or Aida this weekend. If not, better get to it, after all, Christmas is about 6 weeks away. Have a great week.
Other than that, we've had a day of rain. Sara and Vernon left at 4:00 a.m. to fly to Arizona for classes at the Attic (Sara not Vernon)this weekend, so Mary and I are left here to hold down the fort. Mary's holding it down since I refuse to go into the hotel at this point. I just have a couple more weeks of retirement and then I'm back 4 days a week. Since I had some Merry Cox kits Sara was unaware of, I thought I should let her know what I had so she wouldn't buy any of them, should they still be available. This meant I needed to start cleaning out the stitching room to find them. At this point, this room is a dumping site for all things Scrapbooking, and stitching. I usually do a clean up at Christmas but needed to start earlier this year and I've found things I forgot I ever had. So I'm going to spend the next few days showing you what I have done in the past which became buried. Just looked outside and it's snowing again...mercy! I'm sure it will be over before I end this blog, and there is so much water on the ground it will only melt anyway, but it's nice to see. Now as I was saying, before Sara was born, over 40 years ago, I saw patterns in Family Circle or Good Housekeeping for crochet baby booties. At the time I don't think I even crocheted, but just wanted to do something for the baby I was carrying, so I got the recommended crochet cotton and began the task. As I progressed I got more and more excited and I had 4 booties and 1 sandal done by the time she was here. I carried them to the hospital with me along with a gown to take her home in. I remember so well the nurse bringing her into me dressed in the white gown with little rosebuds, but her feet were bare. When I looked at the nurse she said, "I'm so sorry but none of the booties fit her." I have to say I knew Sara was a large baby at the time. Everyone commented on what a big baby she was, 9 lbs. 15 oz. Back then most babies were between 7-8 lbs. I can't tell you how disappointed I was but also thrilled that she was finally here. I packed the booties away and waited. 6 years later my Mary came along, out came the booties only to be told this time...no way that baby's feet will fit in those...she was 10 lbs. 12 oz. Damn..that was it for me. I put the booties away and forgot about them. But today stuck underneath a pile of DMC floss was a small gold box and inside that box were the baby booties. As I look at them I wonder where I found the patience to do these. They are less than 3" long and so tiny. Today I knit, rarely crochet and never with cotton, always with yarn. So these I will hold onto and pray one of my grandsons produced a sweet baby girl who is small enough to wear them. Of course by then God only knows where I will stick them and forgot where they are. Anyway, I have to get back to cleaning up...I hope you are having more fun than I am and have a wonderful stitchy night.
Sara just stopped by and picked up her pumpkin and delivered my copy of Inspirations, "Willing Hands". This is such a well-done book, so many of our favorite Betsy Morgan projects. Plenty of pictures and directions, I just can't wait to start something. Although, perhaps I'd be better off finishing the fabulous "Toy Chest Etui." I started it years ago, after taking the class, and I had great intentions, however, you know how that goes. I completed the stitching and finished the Toy Chest itself. I was so proud, as Jennifer Humphries and I worked one weekend together and we both finished that piece. Of course, Jennifer went further and finished the entire series. (I'm embarrassed to say I didn't.) My thinking was that if the largest piece of the project was done I would definitely get the toys done to put in it. I have one toy done, which we did in class, 3 more stitched but not finished, and the rest is just a twinkle in my eye. But since that project is in the book, I think I'll get it back out and finish some of the toys already stitched and get more done. I'd love to get this project finished before Betsy comes back for the very last time before she retires. A very sad day for all the stitchers as we already lost Sherri Jones to retirement (well I know she has another class or two, but she won't be back to Salty Yarns again.) While we know how much each of us loves retirement, my retirement affects no one, but Sherri and Betsy's affects so many. Mercy, what a double loss. Both retiring after 2020. Anyway, while the first printing of these books is flying out of shops, there will be a second printing due around the first of the year. This is a must-have for any stitcher. So check your local shop to see if they have any left, or get on the list for next printing. They retail for about $36.95.
Halloween may have been over a few days ago but I was just getting started with the "Day of the Dead" pumpkin by Noteworthy Needle and since it was for Sara, not the store (although I suspect she'll just leave it there until next Halloween) I needed to finish it. On Halloween day I gave her a basket filled with Day of the Dead items but let her know that her real gift would arrive late. As I reported last blog post, I punched the first pumpkin incorrectly and my drill went through at one point so I had to begin all over again with a 2nd pumpkin. Anyway, here's the result of my toil on Day of the Dead....
I still made a couple of mistakes, ran out of WDW Onyx which I was using to stitch the design (and I wasn't sure we had any more in the shop, but even that didn't deter me. Instead, I used the WDW everywhere but the eyes to see how far I could get with it. I left the eyes until last as I thought that would be a good place to switch to DMC black. I still had a small amount of WDW left so I stitched the 3 rows on the outside of one side of each eye, one row on the bottom, and 2 rows on the top and then switched to the DMC as I didn't have enough to finish the eyes. It really doesn't show that I switched blacks, which doesn't bother me at all. I am not a Day of the Dead person, so it wasn't a project I loved to stitch, however since it was for Sara it became a labor of love. I'm thrilled to have it done even if it is a little late. Now on to my final pumpkin of the season, Autumn's Blessings. And I am also working on Erica Michael's latest strawberry. I'm actually stitching the silk gauze strawberry, however, I chose to work it this time on 28 ct. over one so it's a tad larger than the 40 ct. gauze piece but it's still got all the detail and none of the background to stitch, I realize Linda has a linen strawberry for Christmas as well, but they don't have the detail of the 40 ct., so that's why I decided to do that one. I started to stitch it over 2 on 28 count so it would be larger but decided to tone it down a little for this one, and stitched it over 1 instead. But I still intend to do an oversized strawberry and might even do it over 2 on 18 ct. That would be the granddaddy of all strawberries, but I thought it might be a cute idea for a strawberry display. Linda had one large one done on her display in Nashville the first year she introduced the strawberries and I've been dying to do the same ever since I saw hers. Well, that's what has been happening here since I last spoke with you. Still straightening up the apartment getting ready for the holidays. UGH, I do hate that. Takes time away from my stitching. Sara leaves on Tuesday for the Attic so I'm in charge for the week she's away which means I'll be in the office or in a shop. But this will get me ready to start my winter shifts, working every Friday through Monday until April. It's hard to believe I have to start working again after I've had so much time off, but since I can stitch while I work I guess it won't be too bad. But I sure will miss my stitching spot and T.V. In case I have nothing to add for the next few days, have a wonderful weekend and hope your needle gets a little use before I talk with you again.
In the last post I spoke about my operator error in cross-stitching the pumpkin, well not in the stitching, but in the pre punching of holes. For those who missed it, I was pushing too hard on the handle of the hand drill and the drill went right through the pumpkin. Meanwhile, Debbie, Stasi, and Michelle had absolutely no problem with theirs, punched the holes and starting stitching them last Sunday. Debbie got quite a head start on her Day of the Dead pumpkin, anyway, I was a bit mad that I had made the mistake and left the hotel on Sunday with another pumpkin, this time a small one which I was certain I could do in one sitting. I had to redeem myself and I'm thrilled to say, mission accomplished!
When I first saw the pattern in Janice's "Pumpkin Palooza" I didn't understand why it was there either. But once I said it out loud, "why did she put Pi on a pumpkin" I got it and thought it was brilliant. So when my Mary asked why I did it I told her and she just looked at me like I lost my mind. I love it and have it proudly displayed, or did until Sara came by and took it back to the shop as a model. It was the perfect one day project, start to finish. Now I've also retackled the Day of the Dead pumpkin and I got it repunched and now I'm waiting to get it back from Sara as I needed her husband to cut off the top so I can start stitching. I started to tackle cutting the top off with Pi, but I chickened out and took it to Vernon to do. He does it in no time and never has an accident. I'm not willing to mess up the pumpkin after I've punched out the pattern. So even though it's after Halloween I'm still punching, and next up, Autumn Blessings which I hope to have done by Thanksgiving. Of course, this isn't the only thing I'm working on, Christmas is approaching so I'm working on those projects and also I have my year-long project, "Year of Celebration" which I've religiously kept up with. November was done on time and in the shop on display. I love that I only have one more to stitch which means I will have completed the series of 12 projects. December here I come. This series has been a joy to stitch. Each one takes no more than 2 days so I was able to get them done on time and in the shop. Since I hang the model over a hornbook, finishing is also easy. When you are a model stitcher for a shop it is imperative that you get things done on time. It isn't helpful to get a November model done in January (which is not to say I haven't had that happen, but I try to stay current.)
Well, now we're into November, temperatures have cooled down considerably, so it's feeling a little more like fall. Things have slowed down considerably here and our events are over the season. Of course, like many of you, I'm concentrating on the holidays, both Christmas and Thanksgiving. I also found a new knitting project so I'm keeping busy as I get ready to go back to work 4 days a week UGH! Yes, the ladies who work the shops take off for the winter right before Thanksgiving weekend, so Sara and I man the shops. It really isn't a big deal, after all, I use to work 7 days a week in the shops, but I've had the pleasure of a summer in which I worked only about 4 days total so I had the feeling of being retired and I found I loved it. And when I broke 2 bones in my ankle in February, I didn't work at all until May....sooo that means even more time at home. But I'm better now and I'm going back. Thankfully I still love being among all the fibers, linen, charts, etc. Hopefully, I'll see you there. Have a wonderful weekend and don't forget to turn your clocks back. (I never reset my clocks when the time jumped forward so I'm already ready to go.)
I talked about my dislike for designing in my last blog, however as much as I hate to design, I really hate to clean. I also hate the mess I create so I live in this vicious circle of hating it and yet hating to clean it up. But I began the task after Jamboree as I told myself I would. I had almost finished the clean up, and also was able to put together a start to my fall display (most of what you see if it's stitching related is discontinued so I was able to bring them home. Most of my stitching resides in the shop. But it was nice to at last get something representing the season displayed. Usually it just doesn't get done at all.
The only thing left to clean up after Monday was my sewing machine, thread and bobbin case, as I had to work on the finishing of a Brenda Gervais piece. Yesterday, Tuesday, I got the pillow sewn and I thought I was home free and moved the sewing machine. Eureka, dining room almost done. And then this morning, things started coming out of the stitching room back to the dining room. Drat!!! I sure do hate when that happens. And now, "Boo to You" by Brenda Gervais
"Boo to you " by Brenda Gervais has certainly not gone the way I intended. I stitched it on 28 ct. linen so it would be a tad bit bigger than it was supposed to be. But I was alright with the size however as you recall in the last blog, I think, I talked about having to rip out and restitch the head 3 times. Finally back to the original colors and thought I was home free. I had thought about making this into a pillowcase slipcover. But in my haste to get this done, I cut the extra fabric which I felt I needed to do it, so a change was made to a regular pillow. I put the pillow together and remembered I was going to make the necklace out of clay. I love 3-dimensional items added to my stitching to give it some dimension. I use beads or fancy stitches and this time Brenda designed the pumpkin girl with a candy corn necklace. Well, I saw that and just knew I had to make one out of clay and attach it to her instead of stitching it. After all, what could go wrong? Only 3 colors, yellow, white and orange, right, easy, peezy, or so I thought. I eventually got one made, after much trial and error on size, strung it on jewelry wire and put it in the oven to bake. That was the last easy job I had. When I felt it had baked enough, I strung it through the linen and found it didn't exactly lay flat against her as I wanted it to. But I could get it to do that if I stitched it down. So that wasn't a real problem. The problem was the thin wire I was using wouldn't stay straight, because of course, I couldn't leave it alone. It would crinkle every time I touched it, which is not a surprise but it was driving me crazy so I left it alone and decided to look at it the next day and evaluate it then. So the next morning, the first thing I checked on was that darn necklace, decided I couldn't live with it and I then proceeded to make prototype 2. This is "do or die" time people. This had to get done that day as it was a gift that had to be given over the weekend. YIKES!!! Anyway, as you can see the mission was accomplished, although I did decide to use #12 pearl cotton as the necklace and I did use a stain on the candy corn so it wasn't so bright. While I don't think it is reflected in the picture the staining of the candy corn was needed and it then matched the linen and finishing. Then it became time to clean up and put away everything day. Next, it was on to food for our CA Wells Memorial Weekend. My part of the food was my Leek and Potato soup with crusty bread, and my chocolate/peanut butter cookies. Everyone brings food to this event so I was eating hearty this weekend. Stasi Stinson's Mexican Salad or Dorito Salad as Sara named it, is my favorite salad of all time. She's not allowed to bring anything else...that salad has to come or I'm going home. I can report that the weekend was a great success, although we were missing a few key people. Jackie Janovsky who always brings her caramel corn, was sidelined by a shoulder injury and she can't move for a couple of months. Ooh, Jackie we are sorry you weren't there, especially after we realized there was no caramel corn (just kidding, we also missed you). Our Judy Brunclik was still dealing with her mother-in-law's death, and cleaning out her house..(so sorry Judy, you were missed as well). Candy couldn't get a baby-sitter for Jace and her mother forgot (again, you were missed) and last but not least, our Kay Fletcher was sidelined, but she sent us a fruit bouquet that was so beautiful and tasty and I got to bring the leftovers home. Thank you Kaybe...we missed you. But those of us left standing were there and eating, laughing, punching pumpkins and stitching. Yes, I punched a large pumpkin with the sugar skull design....well, I should revise that with I was doing that when I punched a little hard and the drill went through the pumpkin. But Debbie and Stasi and Michelle all finished theirs with no problem. Believe me, we realized why I had the epic fail (operator error) so I've brought more pumpkins home and will be doing it again this week. Sara missed all the action because she had to work, as did Kathy, but they strolled over to grab food, so we did see them. And Sara finished punching the epic fail pumpkin after I showed her what I did. (Eyeballs were rolling when I showed her-I don't know where she gets that habit every time I appear.) Anyway, it was a fabulous weekend spent with stitching friends. A couple of projects got finished, a few more got started and amazingly enough....I did nothing but talk. The closest I got to stitching was I took the fibers out of my stitching tote. I'm blaming that on my pumpkin fail. I was depressed. Monday dawned and Stasi and Debbie left and I took the day off to stitch and straighten up, yet once again. My kitchen and dining room are almost done, but the living room has had stuff I brought home from the shop and office dumped there now....but I'm certain this week I will complete all of it. I was also certain that I could punch the pumpkin and we saw how successful that was. Well as we head towards Thanksgiving and Christmas I'm sure many of us will be busy stitching and finishing, so I will wish all the stitchers a big "Good Luck" with getting things done and I'll be letting you know how it's going for me. So take care and try to keep those needles moving through the fabric.
I'm telling you it's getting harder and harder for me to make it through the events. And it takes longer to recover...darn getting old is taking a toll on me. I've been exhausted all day, but I can't seem to just lay down and sleep. So I've decided to blog instead. The weekend was wonderful, fabulous, and I just can't say enough about the fabulous designers but the attendees as well. It was a great group of stitchers, Everett (the only brave male attendee) and 68 women, so it was a bit busy, but everyone I saw had a smile on their face the entire time as they ran by, either to go to class, go to lunch, go to dinner or get to the reception. So a big Thank You to all the stitchers who came to the event. We really appreciate your traveling, leaving your family, to spend the weekend with us. And of course a big Thank you to Cathy, Janice and Vicky for bringing such fun and wonderful projects for the attendees. The projects were great...Janice, Noteworthy Needle... prepped the pumpkins so the stitchers could hit the ground running on that project and I am fascinated with this project. Janice left the Salty Yarns pumpkin, she asked if we wanted her to take it home to finish, but of course, I said NO, I want to do it. Unfortunately, I left it in the car by mistake and I'm too tired at the moment to go retrieve it...but after a short rest, I'm going to get it so you know I'll be working on it tonight. I've already told Sara I want to do several. And Sara gave me the kit to do the 3 new Halloween designs to go with the Apothecary Series I already stitched and finished so I'll be trying to get them done before the 31st. as well. Can't wait to get to work on this stuff. And with CA Wells Memorial weekend coming up I told Debbie, Stasi Buhrman, Stacy Stinson, hell, everyone bring a pumpkin since I have one of the drills and we can punch the holes and stitch these pumpkins on and off all weekend. I say on and off as I'm told your fingers get tired and you have to take breaks. But let's face it there isn't that much stitching to do and the holes take pearl cotton, so I expect this to go fairly quickly. If it's anything like the last projects I had, that will not happen. In the last blog I blogged about the 2 kits I was forced to design (yes, I was forced-and it was my own fault- so I had to force myself). While I had finished the stitching on Friday, Saturday morning I was packaging the kits, with the help of Brian and Vernon, so I made the deadline but never again people. I've never liked the designing part of counted work, and this just reminded me of that. But here are the two designs...
This was "The Gang's All Here" designed to go on the top of one of the tin boxes I've been going on about. So the design is 2" X 2" and fits on a tin box, stitched over 1 with 1 thread on 32 ct. PTP Pampus linen. I finished it with black chenille around the design. The 2nd design had to be different in size due to the fact the original tin box was discontinued. This required!a lot more design, ugh!
This was called, "Pumpkins for Sale" and it too was stitched on 32 ct. Pampus PTP linen over 1 thread using 1 strand. I cannot tell you how relieved I was after getting them to the stitchers, but I am serious about never having to design again. HATED IT! My theory has always been that I don't need to design my own as I love what is being designed by others and wouldn't be able to think of anything greater than that. Glad I'm done with that. Since I started the blog I slipped out to the car and here's the result of my pumpkin stitching. Sara and I went to Serendipity Quilt Shop to get some fabric and on the way back stopped at Michael's to get more pumpkins, just in case my order doesn't get here by the weekend. It's going to be a pumpkin palooza at the hotel for CA Wells Memorial Weekend.
While the stitchers enjoyed their pumpkin project, some complained about fingers hurting, and needles bending and breaking. So I had the benefit of watching out for that. These are stitched using the loop method of threading your needle as 2 strands of pearl cotton are needed. I decided to see if I could use just one strand if things would go smoother. And I have to report, for me, they did. I didn't have to tug the needle through the hole as it just slid on through so my fingers weren't sore, no needles broke or were bent. The disadvantage was that I had to go in and out of each hole twice, but frankly I didn't mind because it was easier to stitch. I did find the stitch a bit awkward at first and I tried several different ways to hold on to the pumpkin while I stitched but finally just gave up on that as it's going to take some getting used to when you are sewing on a pumpkin. In the beginning, I also had to look into the pumpkin and find the holes as I couldn't figure it out. I would think the needle was on the hole when I was actually 3-4 holes away. That was frustrating at first, but a few letters in I started to get the hang of it and by the time I got to about the 5th letter I was no longer looking into the pumpkin. It really just requires patience to get used to holding the pumpkin, finding the correct hole and you will be good to go. Now I can't wait to get more pumpkins and create a pumpkin display. Thank God Janice has books to go with this, and not just Halloween but also fall. Fun times ahead stitchers. But before I get more pumpkins I'm back to the 2 Brenda Gervais projects I put on hold before Jamboree to say nothing of the Sampler Santa which I had started. No wonder I don't want to design, I'm too busy trying to stitch what I already have, and couldn't finish these if I lived to be 500. Got to run, stitching to be done. Talk to you soon. Have a wonderful weekend and I hope your needle meets your linen or Aida this week.
I tend to ask myself after what feels like a long period of not posting. But in this case, I have the excuse of "events are coming." While Sara prepares by ordering massive amounts of supplies, my days are spent searching for suitable scrapbook paper for bag tags, for instance, this weekend tag for the Delaware Valley Sampler Guild. After finding a suitable paper, charms,etc., I set out to make them.
Because I have the Fall Retreat next weekend I started early, 2 weeks ago, getting approx 110 tags done so I could concentrate on other things that need finishing. Two days before the first of October, I remembered the Year of Celebration-October from Hands on Design needed to be stitched and finished, so I now can check that off my list. This series has been so much fun to stitch. Each one takes approx. 2 days so if you are stitching yours monthly, as I have been, each project is so easily completed from the first stitch to finishing. I'm so proud of myself to have continued this so nicely and even more thrilled that I will have completed all twelve in 2 more months. Yes, 12 stitched, finished and in the shop by December 1st.
I stitched this on 32 ct. PTP Wren linen and used Weeks Dye Works fibers I had sitting around me. Apparently, I was too lazy to even bring the correct fibers home with me, although I didn't realize I didn't have them until I started stitching. So I used fibers I had pulled for my Halloween projects. I did trade the fiber they used on the tree for DMC 310 and the purple I used was Weeks Peoria Purple. I used GA Bankers Gray but I think I should have gone with a lighter gray because the
"boo" really doesn't show off that well. I used the called for orange for the pumpkins and border and the called for fiber for the moon, and DMC white for the ghosts. I broke my tradition of backing the pieces with Weeks Wool and added scrapbook paper for the backing to give it more pop. Then I felt I needed something to ease the transition from the stitching to the paper so I added a black rick rack. Voila! October is now hanging on a black hornbook in the shop. Because it's been a month since I appeared to have stitched anything I also wanted to complete one of the 3 Halloween pieces I had pulled to have completed in October for Delaware Sampler Guild Weekend so I pulled out the smallest project and two days later it was finished and now in the shop. Brenda Gervais "Holiday Hoopla-Halloween." Since I had a frame ready to go, I decided to stitch this on 32 ct. Tropical Green to fit this frame. Brenda stitched the original on 36 ct. PTP Kermit. As usual, I traded out the black for DMC 310, but after that, I used her recommendations basically. When it came time to finish, I did make a change on how I attached the broom to the broomstick. Brenda made a tassel and attached it to the fabric. I sewed my broom onto the stick. The pedestal frame came originally to Sea Trader with rustic embroidery in it. But since we don't carry that sort of thing in the gift shop we called the company to have them take it back. Periodically when the merchandise is inexpensive the company just tells you to donate it, use it or throw it away so they don't have to pay to take it back. When Sara said they didn't want it back, I grabbed them and took them home because I knew I would use the frame. However, it's taken me several years to find just the right project, so I was as thrilled with the frame as I was the design. It's perfect and all I had to do was take out the design inside and paint the frame black. It came with the glass, but of course with the broom the glass was left off.
Last week when I was putting off one of my chores for Jamboree, I finished the tags for the Halloween part of Jamboree. I use to make all the tags the same, but a few years ago someone told me they wish we wouldn't make Jamboree so Halloween oriented since they weren't fond of it. Funny how we just assume if we like something everyone else does as well, isn't it? But I listened and for the past couple of years, I've been making Fall tags and Halloween tags so everyone has a choice which tags to use. Here are the tags for 2019 ready to go a week early...Yeah!!!
Next, I had to do the Chocolate Covered peanut butter cookies, done! So for me the jobs for this weekend are completed so here I sit at home during an event weekend (a first for me since I am usually in the shop), so I feel a little strange, but not strange enough to go see what's happening. Also, I may be ahead with tags, but I still have around 100 cookies for Jamboree to do along with a special kit which back in July I thought would be a great idea. In September I found out the great idea was no longer looking so great, but I told Sara I would do it in July, supplies were ordered so there is no backing out now. Because not everyone likes Halloween, we needed two different kits so each stitcher could choose. Oh, it sounded so wonderful in July. I ordered the metal boxes I love so much to use as a base and didn't worry when I received only 48 when I needed at least 70. But by September, and after questioning about my progress by Sara, I contacted the company to be told they were no longer available as they were discontinued, but they had a new metal box. Oh, no not the same at all. Which meant I would need to find 2 different size charts. My original thinking was I would use one of the designer's charts which we would include with the box, fabric, etc. Easy. The original box was easy, I thought since I've used published charts for 2 different samples already. But as the days in September ticked off without any sign of a new chart appearing, it became obvious I had only 1 solution. I was going to have to design again, which I have to say is probably my least favorite thing in the world (well stepping on a scale is my least favorite, but this is a close 2nd.) Fortunately, when Vernon transferred several files and programs over to the new computer he managed to transfer my charting program as well, but of course, it didn't recognize the new computer so it wouldn't save anything. I saw this as a bad omen for things to come and I wasn't far off. But after a phone call and a couple of false starts, I managed to get it saving and I was off. I can confirm I still hate designing. My theory on my designing is....there are so many fabulous designers, there is just no incentive for me to do it. I love other designers work and have an endless supply of charts, etc., of theirs. Damn, I do not like having to do this, but on I went. After a week I finally got the Halloween finished. I thought the hard part was over for Halloween until I started the stitch. The PTP is dense linen and while I had just completed 2 projects using the 32 ct. lovely green Pampus linen, they were beautiful to stitch over 2 threads. Over 1 thread I struggled, but think it could be because of my age, 71, and my eyesight. After completing the piece I took it to Sara and explained my problem and the thought of designing another piece for fall and then stitching it on the same linen was daunting, well let's just say Sara was not receptive to my changing linen at this point as she rolled her eyes, raised her voice and said, "I'd prefer you didn't change since I already ordered 6 yards of Pampus for you." I reminded her that I ordered 4 yards and the other 2 she ordered for the shop, but that didn't seem to help. I told her I'd use the Pampus and just resigned myself, although it's such a beautiful color and I do love stitching on it over 2, I just needed to focus on the job at hand and get it done. I finished putting the Halloween kits together with the finishing materials, and fibers. I then pulled out the new metal box to try to come up with an idea and realized I couldn't use the same finishing I used on the original box, because of the shape. What I chose to use meant I would have to finish all the new boxes myself as I decided to use Wasabi tape on them and you can't cut off pieces of Wasbi tape for each individual kit. Crap, one more job...why did I think this was a good idea? But I finally got those boxes done last week and with 10 days left I meant to start the design. Well, I did start the design was relatively pleased but didn't think it was enough and I've been in design hell ever since. But this time next week the kits will be presented to the stitchers so I'm in crunch time. Today I'm dedicating my time to finishing the design because I still have to stitch it, pull the threads for the kits and box everything, run the charts, add directions...oh crap I don't have any more time for blogging. Let you know how it goes in the next blog. Have a wonderful weekend.
Yes, I was hoping to have this in the shop on the 1st, but since I didn't start it until last night...well, anyway, better late than never I think...just one day late.
September-Year of Celebration
I'm so excited to have finished 9 of these projects stitched, finished and in the shop. I'm up to date and only have 3 more to finish the series. I'm sensing a trend here...I did the entire Scary Apothecary Series (9 total) and now I know I'll be finishing this series....I've become a series stitcher. First let me say these are fast and fun to do. And secondly I have only done one a month so I didn't try to get all 12 done at once so it was really easy to stay on track. I also use the Hornbook to model them so I just take the prior month stitched piece off and put on the latest month so you don't have to purchase frames for each or anything else to display them. One and done! Then I don't have a lot of finishing to do on them, so that's an easy finish. Fabulous! And now I move on to more Halloween and Christmas stitching. Hope you had a safe and fun holiday weekend and now for our children in Ocean City, it's back to school time. Izi spent time with me today playing games knowing that our summer of fun has come to an end. Although we do have weekends and he reminded me that he gets half days sometimes and. then a whole day off, so I'm sure we will be having some game days in the future, but I know it won't be long before he won't really want to hang out with his grandmother anymore. And he's my last one. The other boys have already moved on to friends. They grow up too soon. I'm trying to focus on the positive, this gives me anywhere from 3-5 more hours in the day to stitch! Hmmm, so it's not too tragic is it? Have a great week. Sara, Mary and I are busy preparing for the Jackie DuPlessis classes this weekend. And after that we have the Delaware Valley Sampler Guild retreat, followed by Stitchers Jamboree...whew...we are going to be working like dogs here for the next 6 weeks. But we're up for it so bring it on! Hope to see you soon!
Yes, Scary Apothecary by Hands on Design is done and I couldn't be happier and more proud that I plowed through and did all nine designs (I've started many series and I don't think I've ever completely finished one, so this is a personal accomplishment.) Wouldn't you know, While thinking I was on the final push on Cackle, I found I made a counting error and had to frog the word Cackle...ugh. I found it amusing that this one piece was the one chart of the entire project that had a frog on it. I refused to go to sleep until I had finished it, but by 2:30am said screw it and finished the final stitches this morning I also decided to switch out the green cording I hung the designs on originally for display. I took a second look at the Halloween Garland I purchased last year from Michaels or Hobby Lobby, and after attaching one Sara and I both decided it was the perfect ending. So the final design, Cackle Lozenges, is complete, shown below along with the previous 8 which are already on the Halloween garland, shown 2nd.
Today I hope to start and finish September-Year of Celebration. While I'm disappointed I didn't get anything, other than the small Year of Celebration done for September specifically, I'm going to definitely be ready for Halloween. Now I can get on with my challenge project and the Brenda Gervais Halloween pieces, oh, yes I can't forget the Sampler Santa which I started a month ago. Well, now I'm ready to proceed. Since Labor Day marks the end of summer for us, I took time to reflect on my summer. 2019 summer has been my best ever since I was given so much time off. In fact even as we go into Labor Day weekend I'm only on the schedule for 1 day...Saturday. So thank you, Sara, for giving me so much time off, especially since I was disabled due to the broken ankle from February and only got the boot off at the end of April which meant I wasn't working at all during the months I'm on the schedule 4 days a week. I promise to be more careful starting after Thanksgiving when we go on Winter schedule. Yes, this summer was the best time ever! We are also having the best Labor Day weather this year than I can remember having the last few years. Not a rain cloud in sight and the temps are in the high 70's, low 80's and although the humidity is high, I've turned off my a/c and I'm using just a fan. It's heavenly and the crowds (it's crowded down here as hotels are booked solid) are relatively quiet. Last night, Saturday night, you could hear a pin drop after midnight....no whooping and hollering going on which is almost unheard of on holiday weekends. And of course, tomorrow it will be a ghost town until the following Thursday when the town fills up again, and of course, we have Jackie coming for classes so we will be working it. By the way, in case you haven't seen the notice, we've gone to winter hours, open 10-4 although we are still open 7 days until Thanksgiving and then we go to 4 days. 95% of our foreign staff have returned to their home countries and the few remaining at this point will be leaving soon, so Sara decided to close at night (I'm not sure if this is a lack of employees or Sara's need to get some rest, but since we're dealing with the passing away of a close cousin, it's been tough this week and will be tough next week so I think she needs some break to deal with it.) I feel guilty talking about our lovely Labor Day when so many of you are suffering from the anticipation as well as what comes before and after hurricanes. I'm keeping all in my prayers and since I've lived through many I do know what you are dealing with. Stay strong, stay indoors and if you can leave, perhaps you should. Better be safe than sorry. Don't forget to take your stitching with you.
When last I wrote, I talked about my next project being, Hands on Design's "Apothecary Series", and I have had my issues with this series (operator error), but I have loved each finish. I've not finished the entire series yet, as you can see, but I'm hoping to finish the final 3 before next Friday and will have it hanging in the shop. Love It. I started with "Bitter Brew". I had picked a fabric, but when Sara saw it she had a different one in mind so I decided to go with her decision. Since I really felt as long as the fabric color was light all the designs would pop. Sara picked 32 ct. Pale Lilac linen. I pulled the Classic Colorworks fibers recommended as I was going to do it exactly as shown on the charts, however, I didn't have the called for Kreinik threads so I pulled threads that closely matched the called for colors (or I just liked them). So I instantly decided instead of Zach Black I'd just use the DMC black as it popped more on the fabric. After that, I used the called for flosses for the rest of the piece. I failed to note that I was supposed to use a specialty stitch on the bottles, and instead did the cross-stitch in Kreinik and then satin stitched over that with the Kreinik. It really makes the bottles stand off the linen. I also used the #4 black Kreinik to make all the spiders on the series. Then after I finished the stitching I decided to do the finishing as well right away. A couple at a time would be easier than doing all of them at once (I thought), After looking at different options for finishing, I finally settled on the following for all pieces. I cut 2 mat boards for each piece, glued scrapbook paper to the back of one piece, put a piece of batting on the front piece, attached the stitched piece to the batting mat board, cut 2 two-inch strips of the orange/black ribbon and made 2 loops for each piece which I glued to the back piece of mat board on the side that would be glued to the front mat board. Yes I glued the two mat boards together. Then I decided to have 2 colors in the cording and for Bitter Brew it was orange-DMC #922 and black-DMC #5 pearl cotton...3 strands of each color. I always have the same issue with cording and that is figuring out how to join the ends without it showing. I improved by the 6th finish, but it was a rough go. Anyway, I was pleased with the process from start to finish. The complete finish by the 6th piece was taking me approx. 1 hour start to finish. In the beginning, with the first one, it took me a day because of the cording issues. The stitching took anywhere from 2 days to 2 1/2 days start to finish. I chose to stitch on this project rather than switch on the weekend to my challenge project (Shores of Hawk Run-(I think you can see why it's not getting finished this year.)
Next came, "Broom Stick," which was one of the quickest to stitch. With the exception of Zach Black, and Frog Legs, I used the recommended colors. Zach Black is substituted in every chart to DMC Black. On this chart, I also substituted Frog Legs as it didn't show up as nicely on my linen so I used Hickory Sticks to highlight the broom satin stitched the part of the broom which surrounds the broom stick. For the cording I used Weeks Gold and DMC Black.
Next came "Bat Balm." Another fast stitch and here again I didn't like the brightness of the Finley Gold and substituted Weeks Gold in its place. For some reason, I didn't change the bat color to black and should have as they don't show up as well on the gold (they would have shown up beautifully on the Finley. This piece is also where I began using a deep rose metal body and the bats the rose eyes. I did change the green beside Bat Balm lettering because I didn't even look at the chart symbol and just for some reason did it in green. Since I thought it looked O.K., I stuck with it.
Next up-"Snail Slime." Again, it would have been lovely if I bothered to read, instead of looking at the from of the chart because again, I didn't notice the bubbles were supposed to be a specialty stitch and I just did cross-stitch, but I loved it enough anyway to leave it. On this finish, I used a lime green DMC #734 with the black. During the making of the cording my cord spinner broke and I then had to finish the next two with cording done the old way with a pencil...UGH! Sara was going to drop a new corder off on her run to the grocery store but that would be 2-3 days away and who can wait? Now, I so appreciate my little corder so much more than I ever did.
Next came "Skeleton Polish". On this one I changed the Finley Gold on the bones to WDW White Lightening which is a gray white. For that cording, I used DMC #3041 with Black. I was so upset about my corder during this one that when I went to cut excess cording off, I also cut the ribbon in half in one side. Since the back was already on and the glue dried I then had to repair the ribbon loop....honestly what a moran I am. But after driving myself crazy repairing the darn thing, I walked away and when I came back the glue was dry and the ribbon was connected.
Next-"Cauldron Cleaner"-Here I did use Zach Black but for lettering and the main color on the cauldron, but used Black on the cats and darker colors associated with the cauldron. I used the Kreinik as the orange color under and around the cauldron acting as flames. I also left off the recommended Smyrna crosses on the cauldron and added Frog Legs satin stitch to represent whatever cooking in the cauldron is bubbling over. That cording is orange and black.
While there are 3 more designs to stitch, I wanted to show you how cute these are and how I intend to display them...as a Halloween pennant banner, with Halloween characters holding the ends of the banner. I'm excited!
We have it temporarily up on the counter until I have it completely finished. I'm thinking about adding something in-between each stitched design to keep them anchored, but we are still debating on whether to do it or not. Anyway, I highly recommend this project for those of you who have Halloween on the brain. Fun, Fun, Fun! Can't wait to finish because my next projects are already kitted and are waiting patiently for me to get to them. Have a great Labor Day weekend, stay safe.